Players share their experiences about making a hole in one and the celebration it produces
By KENT MINCER
Jonathan Hawkins isn’t is a triskaidekaphobic.
Hawkins has no fear of the number 13. The No. 13 hole at Bookcliff Country Club has become the avid golfer’s favorite.
In less than one month, Hawkins made two holes in one on the par-3 hole.
“To do it twice in three weeks is kind of amazing,” Hawkins said.
He first aced the hole on June 26, using a 7-iron. On July 17, using an 8-iron, he repeated the feat.
It took different clubs because the tee boxes and pin placements on each hole change from week to week (or in some cases, day to day).
Two golfers, Jim Davis and Steve Phillips, were in his foursome both days to witness the rarity.
According to a 1999 Golf Digest article, the odds of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par 3 are 1 in 12,750. A Sports Illustrated article said the odds are closer to 1 in 45,000.
“It does not require a lot of skill,” Davis said. “It does require a lot of luck.”
He should know. Davis has recorded 10 holes in one.
The first came in the mid-1980s while playing in a local tournament.
“(My playing partner) came back to high-five me. I about tore his arm off,” Davis said.
Hawkins scored his first hole in one when he was 20, playing in his native England.
“It was an elevated green,” Hawkins said. “I never saw it go in.”
He was playing by himself at the time, so no one else saw it go in, either. That’s the thing about holes in one — in order to be considered legitimate, there needs to be a witness.
Since then, Hawkins has five more aces, including the two this summer.
As can happen on a golf course when men get together, small wagers are sometimes placed. During his round last Friday, Hawkins was teamed with Tom Dykstra; Davis had partnered with Phillips in a two-man game.
After he witnessed Hawkins’ shot, “I think I threw my hat on the ground,” Davis said, showing mock scorn. After all, it was his suggestion that they press their bet on that hole.
You won’t find it in the rules of golf, but there’s an unwritten agreement on the golf course:
The person who shoots a hole in one buys drinks for the house after the round.
Bookcliff Country Club has its own hole in one club. Any time a person in that club shoots a hole in one, the other club members’ accounts are billed as a kind of round-of-drinks insurance policy for the next hole in one.
Davis once shot a hole in one in the Colorado West Amateur tournament at Bookcliff.
“I called my wife and told her I might have a pretty good (bar) bill,” Davis said.
As it turned out, his was one of the last foursomes playing that day, so many of the tournament’s 200-plus players had already left the course.
That’s usually not the case.
“Word travels pretty fast around the course,” Davis said.
Unbeknownst to him, his wife was planning a surprise party for him the next day, commemorating his 60th birthday. That party cost a lot more than his bar tab at the CWA.
On another of his birthdays, Davis witnessed Bookcliff head pro Mike Mendelson’s ace on the par-4 No. 15 hole at Tiara Rado.
No matter when it comes, a hole in one is always a pleasant surprise.
“It’s a shock more than anything,” Hawkins said.
Dennis Derrieux, another Bookcliff member, got a hole in one on the same hole four days apart.
“It was in 2001 or 2002,” Derrieux said.
Playing the then-No.14 hole (now No. 5), he scored an ace with an 8-iron on a Wednesday.
Having not touched his clubs for two days, he used a wedge to ace the same hole Saturday.
“The first one was sheer joy,” Derrieux said. “The second one was (like), ‘That did not just happen!’ ”
Derrieux may have used up all his mojo that week. He hasn’t had a hole in one since.
“My percentage on hitting that green now is about 10 percent,” he said.
Any time an ace happens, it creates a buzz.
“Even seeing one is exciting. Everybody is excited,” Davis said.
“When it goes in, you just throw your arms up,” Hawkins said.
Or, in the occasional case of Davis, you throw your cap on the ground.
For those who, like Davis, have shot more than one, it’s always a thrill.
“It lasts quite a while, that feeling,” he said.