While teeing it up in Tennessee last weekend, one of my playing partners, Dan Poppers, knocked in hole-in-one. If you’ve ever witnessed a hole-in-one, it’s something to behold. Here’s how it unfolded.
We were playing one of the premier courses in the Volunteer State: Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville. This par 72, 6,900-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course is part of the Tennessee Golf Trail, located a few hours east of Nashville in the heart of Tennessee’s scenic Cumberland Plateau. The course is routed through a natural setting with scenic views and tree-lined, mounded, and rolling fairways that feature a bounty of sand bunkers and large tiered greens.
It was the par 3, 14th hole where the ace was recorded. Mike was the first in our foursome to tee off on the 128-yard hole. Though he had a decent shot, he just missed the green to the left. Eric then shot away, sticking his ball on the green some 20 feet away from the pin. I followed next and landing my ball less than six feet from the cup. Dan was next up. He took out his seven iron, lined up the shot, and swung away. All of us simultaneously remarked about the ball tracking the flag, then it landed directly in front of the pin. While Dan was busy searching for his golf tee, Eric and I continued our commentary on the ball that seemed to slowly be moving toward the hole. As if rolling through molasses, the ball took about a dozen seconds from the time it landed on the green until it gently disappeared into the cup; Dan’s first hole-in-one! Ironically, he never actually witnessed the ball rolling into the hole!
Nevertheless, a few minutes later after he pulled the ball from the cup, he was like a kid in a candy store, beaming from ear to ear for the remainder of the day. We shared his good fortune with any and all that we met on the course. We also shared Dan’s ace with the front counter personnel back in the clubhouse. They immediately offered him a Bear Trace flag as a keepsake, like the one waving in the breeze at the 14th hole. Dan signed and dated it, then we each signed our names, adding a comment or two. I wrote, “I saw it happen!”
Needless to say, Dan was on the phone a lot for the rest of the day, sharing his hole-in-one story with family and friends back home in California. After that thrilling golf afternoon in Tennessee, Dan Poppers hopes that it doesn’t take another 69 years to replicate that hole-in-one euphoria!
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