The Tragic Story of My First Hole-in-One

Have you ever been so out-of-your-mind-excited that you made a bad decision? Or did something stupid?

Sometimes the best moments and worst decisions go hand-in-hand.

Every summer I visit Melbourne Beach, FL to spend time with my family. This trip, at the last minute, my mom and I entered a Fourth of July golf tournament.  It was the first time we’ve played together in ten years.

Wearing borrowed clothes,  my running shoes, and armed with my new lucky pink glove, I joined my mom and her friends at the shotgun start. Our team made birdie on the first hole. It wasn’t a pretty birdie, but we felt good.

The next hole was a Par 3, 145 yards uphill to the pin positioned on the back of the green. I pulled out my mom’s 5 iron and walked up to the tee box. When the club face struck the ball, I knew I had hit it well.

There aren’t many sounds prettier than a well-hit iron sweeping the grass. As I heard the sound a feeling came over me. Have you ever shot a freethrow and known the ball was going in as it left your hand? It felt like that.

I stood, frozen in time as I watched the ball land on the green and roll toward the pin. In what seemed like slow motion. Finally, screams erupted when the ball disappeared into the hole. My first ever hole-in-one!

The best part about this moment was getting to share it with my mom. When I was six years old, she started taking me out on the golf course regularly. Not your typical stay-at-home-mom golfer, she won the club championship, played in pro-ams with Tom Kite, and had a 3 handicap for ten years.

It’s no surprise Payne Stewart was my first childhood crush. I attended his summer camp in Orlando when I was twelve.

But I stopped playing golf in middle school to focus on other sports. (Stupid stupid stupid!)  After college, I dusted off my sticks and started playing a few times a year. Just enough to remember I had a swing and how much I love the game.

I’ll never forget the elation I felt in the moments from striking the ball to watching it go in the hole. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!

But then, the unthinkable happened.

Up next was a longer par 4, dogleg left. I pulled out the Callaway Diablo Driver from my mom’s bag. Having never hit that club before, I nervously placed the ball on the tee. But not just any ball. THE ball. Yes, in my drunk-off-adrenaline state I also lost the ability to think. Acting out of my right mind, I placed the ball I had just hit my first ever hole-in-one with on the freaking tee!

And I swung that Devil Driver with all my might.

My cherished ball died a tragic death just minutes after its moment of glory. And a little part of me died with it.

The only thing missing from this picture is a sign. “Here lies Top Flite Diva #3. A faithful, solid lady who lived an exciting, albeit short life. May she rest in peace on the muddy bed of this lake. Amen.”

Is there a time you made a bad decision after a moment of triumph in your life? What did you learn from it?

 
 
  • Dave Coalter

    They’ve got the sign up already.  I’m so proud of you.  Love, your little bro.

    • Thanks, Dave. 🙂 If I wasn’t certain there’s an alligator in that lake, I’d beg you to dive in and retrieve the ball!

  • Oh no! Life is funny that way isn’t it, the best and worst so often go together! Congratulations on your hole in one just the same!

  • Wow! Congratulations!! And my deepest sympathy.

    Maybe you can make pilgrimages there, set up a shrine, maybe even sell a chance to touch the water where the ball lies.

    Good story, Tracy.

    • Now there’s an idea, Bill! I’ll give you royalties from the proceeds.

  • One of those moments you can’t take back; but in an odd way it makes your hole-in-one story even better.  Let’s face it – there are a significant number of people on the planet with their hole-in-one ball, but only one with a sign commemorating its demise.

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