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Tony Kirk Warms Up with First Hole-in-One

Golfer receives ultimate reward after leaving snow-bound Iowa and revisiting a favorite course in North Carolina.

Lining up an important putt

I currently live in Iowa City, Iowa where the winter is usually long and the golf season always too short. When I pack my clubs away for the season, they're never completely out of sight so when travel takes me to warmer climates, I can easily dust them off and at least hit the range. Anything to keep my game sharp until I see the grass again back home!

Recently I was in North Carolina for work and, of course had my clubs with me, so decided to sneak out for a round. It was chilly - about 55 degrees - but the sun was out so it was pretty pleasant overall. I decided to play one of my favorite courses, a course I played a lot when I lived in the area, the Champions Course at Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center in Browns Summit, NC (home of the USGA's 2010 US Amateur Publinks Golf Championship).

I joined up with two brothers and right away they were shocked to see my cross-handed grip and surprised I could even hit the ball. I had endured similar reactions from my friends for years and assured my playing partners I was generally a "decent" golfer...unfortunately, I didn't get off to a very good start, basically playing double bogey golf for the first five holes. My last round was about three months before and I could not seem to shake the dust off my swing and develop any sort of a rhythm. The sixth hole is a 508 yard par-5 that I normally birdie. After bogeying, I had lost all hope of salvaging a decent round.

The seventh hole of the Champions Course is a par-3 that played about 155 yards on this day. After my partners had hit their shots long, I was determined to stick with my plan and just reminded myself to make solid contact to avoid the huge bunker in front of the green. Teeing up a Titleist Pro V1, I chose 7-iron and hit a crisp, high fade that landed about five feet past the pin. I was pumped to finally get my round on track and glanced back at the green as I reached for me tee...only to see the ball rolling back towards the flag! I turned to my partners and commented that I'll finally have a nice tap in birdie to get my round back on track. I looked back again to see where the ball had settled....just in time to see it drop in the hole!  I was in shock. I jumped up and down and screamed like a wild man. The group ahead and behind saw the shot, which made it that much sweeter! I jumped so much I almost fell down the hill off the tee box. What a moment!

After the Hole-In-One I played bogey golf, but I truly do not remember the remainder of the round!

I have been playing golf for about six years, having taught myself the game and the unique cross-handed grip! Since the first time I put a tee in the ground, I've only teed up Titleist golf balls and I also currently carry a Titleist 983K driver and three Vokey Design wedges (60, 56, and 48 degree). The Pro V1's have had a great impact on my game and after my hole-in-one, you could never get me to play anything else.

Course: Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center - Champions Course
Hole: #7
Hole length: 155yd
Club used: 7 iron
Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Tony B. Kirk

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