Sometimes skill and execution are rewarded by luck …
… and you get a hole in one. First one , ever, for me. I golf on and off back in the USA for 35 years – nothing. Then I come to India – get my first hole in one. Go figure.
The Scene: Poona Golf Club, in the Yerwada district of Pune. I have played there a few times since coming to India last August. I wanted to show Kim the course so off we went. On Thursday I called my regular caddy, Ganesh, and he got us a Saturday time at 1:30.
We started on the back nine. I was playing good for me, starting par-bogey-bogey, until going double-triple-double on 13-14-15. Then we come to #16, a 3-par of 185 yards. The hole is flat and fairly straight on, and is bunkered right, left and back. However the green is guarded by large, branchy trees on right and left – a veritable Scylla and Charybdis of dendritic menace (if you will pardon a perhaps too-florid allusion). As you look at the green from the tee, there is only a 7-yard or so clear space in very center of the green. It is possible to loft over the trees, but it is very hard for average golfers to hit shots that are high, carry 185 yards, and then stop.
I played a 5-iron from the blue tees. Now, my irons are TaylorMade Burner 2 irons. The lofts on these clubs are stronger than “traditional” clubs – my 5-iron is about the same as a typical 4-iron from even just year 2003 or so. Anyway I’m happy to be able to say I hit 5-iron 185 yards – though back in the day you had to be an actual golfer to be able to say that.
So, there I am with my 5-iron back on #16 tee. The pin is on the left, about 1/3rd of the way from the edge of the green. I figure I’ll aim at the pin and try to hit a full, high shot. The shot is full and high alright, but pulled a bit left – into the compass of one the aforementioned trees. It was hard to follow and I assumed my ball pinballed back and forth amongst the branches and dropped on the left side of the green or just off.
However when my caddy Ganesh and I arrive at the sinister side of said green – no ball. Five minutes we search, in the bunker, short, long, another fairway … nothing. Finally Ganesh declares my ball must be lodged up in the tree somewhere. I am of course irritated. That was a good shot, and if this leafy Rakshasa had not taken it, my ball would be on the green. I put down a ball and proceed to play from where I figured my ball probably would have been.
My chip goes long, towards the back edge of the green. By now Kim has also played a 2nd shot onto the green and as we are lining up our putts, Kim’s caddy goes to tend the pin.
“Sir, sir!” the caddy excitedly demands my attention. “You ball is here sir!”
“You have got to be kidding me,” I reply.
No kidder he. We all gathered round the cup to stare skeptically downwards. Sure enough, there was my #3 TaylorMade TP Black LDP golf ball. We all agreed the ball had indeed caromed around through the branches, but for some reason – will of the golfing gods, intercession of Lord Ganesh, or plain dumb luck – it happened the ball should roll into the hole.
Now Ganesh and his fellow caddy, Bundu, were convinced this good fortune should be laid at Kim’s feet – “Because Ma’am is with you first time today,” they explained. Maybe so, but how much pressure can one woman stand? Mother of my children, helpmeet, business partner, muse, obligatory laugher-at for my jokes, and now, golfing good-luck charm? Oh, heavy burthen.
Anyway, that is the story of my first hole in one. The rest of the round was pretty good, with three more pars and a chip-in birdie on #5, totaling a not-too-shabby 86.
We did capture some photos. Here’s Kim and myself with the hole-in-one ball (now to be an heirloom of my house), and our caddies, Ganesh (on the left) and Bundu:
I end with some golfing poetry I found:
To hole in one
or at last let go of your boy
on his new bike as he makes it
the length of the drive, down the hill,
along the carriageway,
between the weighbridge and the bottle bank –
just a dot now –
and through the gates of the big school without
Ok, so it is only golf. But I can now say a hole in one is kind of like that, something you send on a long, uncertain journey then – against expectations – in one motion arrives somewhere great.
Now, according to the ancient tradition, I go to buy drinks for the house … which in this case is just Kim and me. Till next time.