I was having a long rough day out on the links. The word “mulligan” and “slice” continued to crop up in our conversation. But then again, I was only 15 years old and didn’t know any better.
When I walked up to the eighth hole, I was just in a mood to just let it fly and swing with little concern (unless my ball went hit someone at the tee box on the second hole.) I pulled out a 7-iron, which for a 134-yard hole was way too much club, even for my skinny frame. I didn’t care.
I remember staring down at the ball before swinging, noticing a little crack on it. Didn’t care. I swung.
The ball went straight and true heading right towards the hole. I was calm on the outside, but inside my body was jumping for joy.
When the ball hit the ground it disappeared.
I sighed, thinking at least my day on the course had been consistent. My golfing buddy at the time was Mike Gassner (now Michael Gassner, Rancho Cucamonga Court Commissioner), who looked at me with a sorry face as we walked to the green.
When I got to the green my ball was nowhere to be seen. Mike and I fanned out behind the green thinking I hit the ball too far. Why couldn’t I have used an 8 or 9-iron! Getting impatient, I just naturally walked on the green to tend the flagstick for Mike’s second shot.
I grabbed the stick and looked down. It was then I noticed my ball was lodged in the cup with a now larger crack smiling right up at me. I just shot a hole-in-one on the fly. Tee to cup.
Needless to say the events after get a little blurry given this was 42 years ago. But I do remember running down a hill past the ninth hole to the golf shop screaming about what just happened. No need to finish my round, I was done for the day.
The gentleman in the golf shop seemed a little alarmed, given he had this crazy kid running towards him with ball in hand. I showed him the ugly looking ball, told him some version of this story, pointed to Mike at the top of the hill as my witness, who kindly waved to acknowledge the event.
The gentleman in the golf shop had to figure this nutty story was true and immediately pulled out a small trophy with a big number “1” that also sported a nice spot to hold the ball.
I’ve told this story a few times lately, not only because this is still the only hole-in-one in my sporadic golfing career, but also that all these events occurred at the Claremont Golf Course. Claremont’s only golf course and one that is closing after 53 years due to dropping attendance.
I consider this course a Claremont institution and hope maybe there’s something that can be done to save it. I’m even willing to throw in free advertising to promote it. Maybe this is a time the College Consortium can simply step up and do something for the city. Be a partner. Do the right thing. Invest in the course instead of let it go brown. Maybe Golden State Water can lower water rates and show they are a partner too. Hey, anyone can dream.
Maybe as residents of Claremont we can go out and support our course! Novel concept.
Otherwise, the bean counters win and the golf course will slowly shut down by the end of the year. It’s hard for me to imagine another condo development or dormitory on these grounds.
We have a real “Best of” special section today
The COURIER has not published many special sections highlighting the best places around Claremont to eat, drink and be merry. Actually, it’s a lot more than that when you consider there are many other businesses getting recognition too.
It’s easy to see “Best of” special sections are more common now, as newspapers and websites find it an effective way to sell advertising. The COURIER obviously sold advertising for this section.
What has been lost over time is the voter aspect to this contest. More often than not, it’s possible to buy your win with a paid ad, or simply have hundreds of winning categories creating a large pool to solicit each of winner. Even a newspaper located close to us, simply partnered with a company who specializes in creating these sections, to then split the revenue.
Doesn’t seem real accurate or genuine does it?
Our approach at the COURIER was quite simple. Allow people to vote as many times as they want, so businesses could spread the word. If customers really like the business, they will vote. A perfect example is Rocky’s Laundry and Cleaners, who garnered 131 votes from their many customers.
Since a large majority of the almost 7000 votes were submitted online, it was easy for our staff to vet the process and find those who wanted to stuff their ballot box. In this day and age, you can tell how many votes came from a single source, date, time, and use of incorrect categories (writing one name in all categories counts as a single vote!)
In other words, the COURIER took great pride in this contest, made sure the counting was accurate, yet had an appreciation for the many odd and funny things people would do to show their enthusiasm.
The results are now released to the public today, all for your enjoyment.