Reverse Bucket List: Hole in One

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Most people are familiar with a Bucket List.  How about a Reverse Bucket List?  Something you have already that would be on the bucket list of others.  As a PGA Golf professional waiting 20 years for a Hole-in-one felt like a lifetime but it was well wort the wait to get it in this fashion…..

A few days after arriving in Wanaka, New Zealand (2010) and on the hunt for a winter job, I walked in to the golf shop at the Lake Wanaka Golf Club. Behind the counter was the Pro, Gus. I introduced myself and told him I was a PGA Golf Professional visiting from America and was wondering if he needed any assistance with the golf operations. He explained that it was a small operation but he would keep me in mind and he took down my number. He asked if I would like to play with the men’s club the next day, I accepted.

I arrived to the course the following day to see a large men’s club of 50 or so players. As the odd American traveler I was paired with three older Kiwi mates that were definitely odd balls themselves. As everyone was headed to the tee one gentleman leaned over and whispered in my ear, “mind your not movin’ in his bloody backswing mate,” as he nodded toward one of my paying partners.

Starting on hole ten I bogeyed our first hole, pared the second, then birdied the third and fourth holes. 1 under after four and I could see the somewhat disturbed looks on my kiwi partners faces. They were jealous of my long drives but at the same time impressed by the birdies. Another par on hole five led us to the 6th hole nicknamed “wee willy”. It’s a short downhill par three about 125 yards. I had the tee honors so I teed up first. I hit a smooth pitching wedge right at the pin (My kiwi mates were watching from the side likely blabbering something about how I can hit such a low club) It is right on target as it starts to fall towards the hole. As it soars just long of the pin I continue to watch knowing the green slopes back to front. The ball hits, takes one small hop and spins back toward the flag. Four feet, three feet, two feet, one foot. It curved right into the hole. Now as a PGA professional and 20+ year golfer this is my first hole in one and I am ecstatic. It is hard to say exactly what my actions and words were that day on the tee box of “wee willy,” but I was running around going ballistic. I hurled my club in the air and tossed my hat down the fairway.  I must have looked ridiculous to the laid back Kiwis and in there eyes I just made a simple Wednesday men’s club round into a golf extravaganza. I was on fire.

I finished three under on that nine and one under for the day, 69. It was the most amazing day of golf in a strange new land. The men’s club presented me with a local bottle of wine. Luckily I didn’t have to shout beers for the entire men’s club but you bet those old Kiwi mates got a few pitchers out of me.

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