Blind golfer holes two aces!
First the good news, if you have had the good fortune to shoot a hole-in-one, then you belong to an exclusive club of golfers, both pro and amateur. Now for the bad news, your accomplishment was upstaged by a blind woman golfer, named Margaret Waldron, who shot a hole-in-one on two consecutive days, on the Long Point Golf Course, located in Amelia Island, Florida.
In 2012, I joined the PGA hole-in-one club, with my very first ace, and for years, I have felt pretty good about my achievement, until my ongoing research into golf for my weekly column uncovered this unbelievable feat in 1990.
At age 74, Mrs. Waldron not only scored an ace on an 87-yard par three for her first hole-in-one ever, but the next day, on the same hole she did it again.
At age 64, she lost her sight to a devastating eye disease, but never gave up the game she loved. With her husband Pete’s help, she aligned her feet and club to the ball and hole, then he handed her a seven iron and let her do the rest.
Commenting on the first ace, “I hit the ball solidly,” she said, and “when one of my friends yelled it went in the hole, I felt a great sense of fulfillment.”
The next day it happened again, on the same hole, but this time, she put it all into perspective. “I was so proud,” Mrs. Waldron said in the clubhouse. “I don’t consider I am handicapped. I am challenged to do my best with what I have. What else should I do, sit home and knit?”
OK, just when I thought I had read about all the incredible golf aces ever made, I came across a golfer named Jim Taylor, who has done what seems to be an impossibility in life.
Computer experts have calculated the odds of an amateur golfer scoring a hole-in-one at about 12,000 to one with both arms, but what are the odds of an armless golfer shooting not one, but eight aces?
Taylor lost both of his arms in childhood, while playing on a rooftop and grabbing onto a 7,000 volt power line. After his surgery and extensive rehab, he learned to use his artificial arms and hooks for hands to resume his life the best he could.
In 1986, he decided to take up golf and was fitted with special rubber hands to grip a golf club. Not wanting to be called a quitter, he persevered and learned how to swing the club in an arc, even though he could not feel the club in his grasp.
Three years later, while playing at an executive nine-hole course, he scored his first ace. He soon became a local celebrity at Golf Green Golf Center in Longview, Washington.
Since 1989, to present day, Taylor has knocked in seven more aces, which have been confirmed by Skip Manke, the pro at the golf center. “He plays a great game of golf,” Manke said. “He just happens to have no arms.”
And one more story from the incredible file of improbable aces comes from not a lifelong handicap, but after eye surgery for amateur Joe Graney of Stuart, Florida. In 1992, Mr. Graney had cataract surgery on his right eye and six days later, wearing an eye patch, he stepped up to the 110-yard par 3, 11th hole at Heritage Ridge Golf Course and scored his first hole-in-one.
A few months later, he had his left eye operated on for cataract surgery and again wearing an eye patch, he teed off on the 160-yard, par 3, 7th hole and scored his second lifetime ace. (Side bar...the moral of this story...always keep your eye on the ball).
So next time you are disgusted with your game, remember the blind golfer, the armless golfer, who both persevered and “to keep your eye on the ball.”
19th Hole Trivia
In 1997, I had the heartfelt honor of working with a third grade student from one of my gym classes on his golf swing. We worked on the playground on my planning period, hitting whiffle golf balls, until he could take away, swing, hit the ball and follow through.
I had tears in my eyes when he called me that summer to play in place of his father (who had broken his thumb) in the local Father and Son nine-hole tournament.
We had a great time and Austin’s artificial (left) leg was no longer a handicap to his golf game. He had gone from the playground to the golf course.