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Dan Sollom | What are the odds?

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According to the National Hole-in-One Association, the odds of the average golfer making a hole-in-one is 12,700 to 1.

Not only do I find that an amazing statistic, I’m also blown away to know there is really a National Hole-in-One Association. There is! I actually looked it up online.

The odds of making a double eagle, also known as an albatross, are a staggering 6 million to 1. For non-golfers, a double eagle is when a player is able to score a 2 on a par 5 or a 1 on a par 4. There is something like 40,000 aces per year and only a couple hundred double eagles. (I looked that up, too).

How about the guy that first scores an albatross on a par 5 and two holes later records an ace? It happened and I was a witness.

Highlander Golf Course: March 29, 2014.

It was Saturday, and I hadn’t really planned to play golf due to an iffy weather forecast. It was around 10 a.m. when Denese said, “ Are you playing golf today?” It was partly cloudy and 47 degrees and showers were expected later in the day, and I quickly replied, “ Yes, I think I will.”

Not having a tee time and just showing up at Highlander is a bit of a risk, especially on the weekend, when play is generally busier, but I took a shot. I was told at the pro shop that I could immediately tee off and catch up with the twosome approaching the first green. Aaron and Jim were from the west side and staying at a cabin on Fish Lake for the weekend with their wives and kids. They had played Highlander before and loved the course — nice guys who played well.

On the No. 5 tee box, Jim was bemoaning the fact that he scored a double bogey 7 on the fourth hole. He pounds his drive down the middle of the par-5 fairway and is looking at a 230-yard second shot. As the ball is in the air, it’s readily apparent he will make the green in two. As the ball starts to descend, I say, “Go in the hole.” It did. A double eagle. An albatross. A 2 on a par 5 from 230 yards out. Wow! (Aaron and I both made par and it felt like a triple.)

After high-fives, whooping and the obligatory photos, we make our way to the next par 4. Jim, still flying high, records a bogey 5 but doesn’t seem to be too bothered by it. The seventh hole is a 140-yard par 3. With a bit of a breeze in the face, Jim tees it up and hits a beautiful ball right toward the flag. Aaron says outloud, “Nice shot... go in!” It did. An ace. A hole-in-one after a double eagle just two holes back. Holy crap! Did that really just happen? All three of us jumped, high-fived, screamed and yelled.

After retrieving his ball from the bottom of the cup, we took more pics and talked about the odds of something like this happening. The odds are... well, I don’t know. I looked it up and couldn’t find any stats or examples of that combination occurring to the average player, or pro golfer, for that matter. I asked Jim about his handicap and he said he doesn’t really have one, but said, “It’s probably an 18.” Ya right, Jim.

So the next time you want to play 18 and don’t have a reserved tee time, just go out and join a couple of strangers for a few hours and see what happens. It just may be more than memorable — it might even be historical.

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