The Happiest Day Ever!

My first hole in one!Recently I traveled to Florida to purchase electric trains from a long time customer who was having some health problems. As it turned out his health problems prevented us from doing business this time, so I had some time on my hands.

So on Friday the 20th, 2006 I decided to go golfing. And golf I did! That time of year I'm usually a little rusty, but this round was different. Not only did I post three birdies, but I shot a 78, which was one of the best scores I had ever shot on this particular course. After that I thought I'd relax the rest of the trip and hang up the clubs knowing I couldn't do better!

The next day I went to the beach and sat in the sun all day. It was great, but a little boring, so that afternoon I called another golf course to see if I could get an early morning tee time before the big Steeler game that afternoon.

My plans had changed. Even though I knew I couldn't golf better than the other day, I simply have a sickness. When there is a golf course around, I have to visit it. So there I was not so early in the morning at ‘The Savannahs' Golf Course in Merritt Island, Florida. The course is around 10 miles away from Kennedy Space Center where they launch rockets. That was the main reason that I was in awe at the prospect of being teamed up with Dave who was the assistant program director for the recent launch that I actually watched four days earlier. You might remember the launch of the capsule that will be going past Pluto in 9 years.

I was fascinated by that, and here I was playing golf with one of the key players of that launch.

Dave's son Matt was along as well. Matt seemed to be one of the nicest kids I had ever met, being on his high school golf team as a freshman.

After an enjoyable 16 holes, it actually looked like I would break 90, which was my only goal for the day.

The wind was directly in my face on the 17th tee. The hole is short at 120 yards, which would normally be a pitching wedge or maybe a nine iron for me. But instead I took out an eight iron. I almost changed my mind thinking that maybe that was too much, but decided, what do I have to lose.

When I struck the ball it was probably about as pure a shot as I have ever made. It felt like the approach shot I had on the 17th hole at the Cocoa Beach Country Club only two days earlier, where the ball ended up only a foot past the hole. I simply didn't feel contact with the ball. It was sweet. And then I looked up and it soared as high an eight iron as I have ever hit in my life. It was tracking straight at the pin with just a very slight fade. At least it seemed like a fade, but was probably the wind shaping the shot.

None of us saw it land as it seemed to mysteriously disappear. I figured it was just too much club and after waiting for Dave and Matt to hit, I got in my cart and promptly whisked to the back of the green laughing to myself, maybe it went in the hole. I knew that wasn't the case. I'd been chasing that hole in one for 47 years. I had always been disappointed before. So I really didn't make it a very serious thought.

Unfortunately I found a ball directly behind the green in a shrub of some kind. I reached in to get the ball knowing it was mine, but was surprised to find it wasn't. At that point my heart started to beat a little faster.

Matt and Dave's shots had gone short of the green. They were doing something, I wasn't sure what as I started towards them. I looked left and right, and looked up in front of the green, but there was no sign of my ball.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. There was what appeared to be a ball mark around 18 inches in front of the pin. My heart started racing faster and faster as I slowly approached the pin suddenly becoming more aware that Dave and Matt were about ready to hit their shots. But I couldn't wait. I had to know, so I edged even closer to the pin, almost afraid to look in, but by this time I was almost certain I knew what had happened to my golf ball.

And then I was close enough to glance into the bottom of the hole, and there it was. My ball was directly next to the pin on the right side. It was like a dream. I couldn't believe it. It was like a surrealistic dream when I finally realized it was actually my golf ball that was at the bottom of that hole.

An instant of shocked silence must have gone by before I started to run and jump and shout at the top of my lungs. I'm not sure if Dave and Matt knew what had happened, although now that I think about it they either thought I had gone crazy or the ball was in the hole.

I simply couldn't believe it as I jumped and hollered for an unknown amount of time.

Finally when the initial excitement subsided, I settled down and apologized for my behavior and that's when Dave and Matt came up and shook my hand. At least I think they did, but it is now a whirl whether that happened or not. The important thing is that I know I had realized my first hole in one ever!

I do remember for sure reaching my index and middle finger in the hole to pull my Titleist 2 Pro VI 392 which was slightly dirty because I hadn't washed it in a couple of holes.

As Dave and Matt finished the hole I called my daughter Kathy whom I had called several false alarms to in the past. I knew she wouldn't believe me, so I handed the phone to Matt who assured her that it really did happen. Matt also assured my wife that it really happened as I smiled with pride.

It was fun listening to that kid assure them it really happened. ‘It really happened!'

My drive on the 18th was a little rugged, but I didn't really care. I could realize a 25 on that last whole and I'd still be very content.

My phone was very busy the rest of the day to say the least.

To cap off a beautiful January 22nd, my Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Denver Broncos that afternoon as I watched with a big smile on my face. Could it have gone any other way?

What a day!

Charles Siegel
AKA Flyn (That's my golf name! Long story!)