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  • Writer's pictureH. Rick Goff


Got my first and only hole-in-one a few years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Any day on the golf course is a good day for me, but that day I was not having a particularly great round and I was ready for it to end. I was playing like it was the first time I had ever touched a golf club, I was telling myself, "I've been playing too long to be playing so bad". But there I was, just hacking away. The Bandit Golf Course 17th hole is a par 3 that on this day was playing 139 yards with a slight wind blowing toward the green. I had to clear a deep creek to hit the green and get to the cup which was placed in the center of the large sloping green. I debated hitting a pitching wedge just to get on the green and let the ball roll for a decent though a fairly long putt. But the club to hit was clearly a nine iron that I needed to hit clean and solid. I don't really like hitting off tees for short par 3s, so I carefully placed my ball on a clear spot on the tee box. Again, I was not striking the ball well and was playing terrible that day, but when I hit this particular shot, it felt different; it made the crisp sound of a well struck ball; I didn't even feel it off the club face. The ball seemed to stay in the air forever as I posed and watched it track like a guided missile straight toward the flag. It landed softly and slightly short of the flag and due to the slope of the green, I assumed it rolled to the back and off the green. But my playing partners (who had much better eyesight than I did) excitedly shouted "I think you just made a hole-in-one". Of course, I didn't believe it, and I was shaking as I drove up the cart bath to a bridge that crossed over to the green. I nervously walked onto the green and looked all around to see if my ball had rolled off into a catch basin on the backside. When I didn't see it, the reality of what had happened hit me. I walked over to the flag stick and there it was, my Titleist Pro-V-1 buried in the bottom of the cup. I couldn't believe it, on one of my worse days on a golf course, I had just made a hole-in-one!!

During some days and some seasons of your life, you just don't have your good stuff; everything you do seems to misfire or miss the mark. The breaking ball just won't break, and the fastball is anything but "fast". But during these times of mistakes, miscommunication, misunderstandings, or just little gremlins running around wreaking havoc on your life; you have to keep hacking away! You have to recognize that setbacks are just as much a part of life as when everything goes well. I would argue that we need "trying times" to help us appreciate the times when all goes well. The darkest clouds may produce dangerous weather but when they pass, the sunshine seems brighter than ever. The chaos of uncertainty and failure is often replaced by order and the sweet smell of success.

I have come close, but I haven't had another hole-in-one since that round. But the memory of that day has stuck with me; I made the shot of my life while playing the worse round of golf ever. It's easy to quit when things aren't going well, and if I had quit at any point prior to the 17th hole, I would not have had the most memorable experience I have ever had playing golf. There are many lessons to be learned from this scenario, but one stands out---keep going through the rough/trying times. Even when you are not at your best, good things can still happen. Respect the struggle but know you can work your way through it!

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