Greatest Shot of My Life

I am writing you to tell you a story about a recent occurrence that took place. I am an avid golfer. I use Titleist irons (DCIs purchased in 1999) and play Titleist Pro V1 balls. I love the Titleist products and I love the performance that the Titleist equipment enables the golfer. To me, there is nothing else that equates to Titleist. I want to tell you about a special day.

Allow me to recreate the scene of the crime. An event that I cannot believe happened, nor will ever happen again (at least to me).

My good friend, Travis Brashear - a weekly golfing pal of mine, works for a consulting company that sponsored a golf outing for Tesoro, an oil and gas exploration company based in San Antonio, Texas. Travis and I drove out to San Antonio on Sunday, September 30, to play golf with some colleagues from Travis's work and customers of his that would part of the next day's outing. We played on Sunday and that afternoon, we checked into the JW Marriott in San Antonio. That evening, we took part in the Outing dinner.

On Monday morning, we teed off in a scramble at the TPC San Antonio - Canyons Course. Travis and I played with two Tesoro representatives. They were great guys, but not necessarily great golfers. Travis and I, being of relative equal golfing skill, traded off of being the third or fourth hitter in the group all day trying to do our best to win the outing. We started on the seventh hole, and proceeded to make eight straight pars in the scramble. If I was playing my own ball, this would be story enough; but in a scramble this is characterized as relatively poor performance. Travis and I were losing interest, wondering where the drink cart was as it was pretty close to Beer-30 at this time. On our ninth hole that we played, the 15th, we managed our first birdie. But alas, one under after nine holes would surely not secure us any prizes. Oh, by the way, nine holes on the card...three hours on the clock. We were going nowhere fast and it was taking us all day to get there.

The sixteenth hole at the TPC San Antonio Canyons Course is a 180 yard par three with an elevated tee over a ravine with bunkers front left and front right. The pin placement on October 1, 2012 was back-center on a right to left slope. Upon arriving at the tee, we noticed that Tesoro had chosen this hole for its grand prize...a 2013 Audi A6 sedan. A beautiful car parked on the left hand side of the tee box. If someone were to magically make a hole-in-one, the car would be his or hers. No lease, no cash settlement, just the luxury sled. Just tax, tag, and title and capital gain taxes. For whatever reason, being somewhat impatient or perhaps as a result of divine intervention, I said aloud "I'm hitting." I grabbed my trusty vintage 1999 Titleist DCI five iron, placed my tee in the ground, and started my pre-shot routine. As with any shot, I was thinking about putting a good swing on the ball. I said to myself, "You might as well just hit it. Don't think about anything, just rip it." I took the swing and hit the purest shot of my life, and as soon as the club met the ball I said aloud, "Get in the jar." Now I say that sometimes, when I do pure one, but most of the time the utopian thought subsides after about 5 seconds. But this thing was tracking, a subtle fade that never moved more than a few feet left to right. My playing partners watched the ball flight. I heard one of them say, "It's got a chance." The ball hit the green inside of ten feet from the hole, one bounce, and in the cup. The four of us erupted in excitement, but we weren't entirely sure that what we thought we saw was real. After all, it was 180 yards away and the witnesses parked under a tree greenside were still in the cart. The Tesoro guys were sure it was in, my friend Travis didn't want to jinx the situation and remained quiet. There were two ladies sitting in a cart under a greenside tree serving as witnesses for the outing. We yelled to the girls to check if it was in. One of the girls got out of the cart and ran for the hole. As she approached the hole, I thought that surely she would have said that it went over the green or was behind the pin. But she kept going closer and closer towards the hole, giving no indication of anything. She got the hole and gave me the "touchdown sign" indicating it was in. Four grown men hugging like school girls jumping up and down. I had to take a knee to keep myself from passing out. Are you kidding me? My three brothers and I are all of relative equal playing ability; we have all been playing for more than thirty years. None of us had ever made a hole-in-one. My father, who taught us all to play (incorrectly mind you, but we are appreciative all the same), has two with a driver. I said to Travis, "I can't believe I just made a hole-in-one." Travis said, "you are going to be paying taxes on a $55,000 car!!!!!"

We drive down to the green to consummate the feat. The witnesses waited for me to take the ball out of the cup and it was picture time.

It was then back to the tee to see the prize. As I said, I knew it was there but really didn't get a good look at it. It felt like "The Price is Right" when the winning contestant gets in the car and waves to the studio audience. It also resembled a circa 1985 Whitesnake video with me as Tawny Kitaen on the hood of the car. No pictures of that thankfully.

By now, the outing had come to a screeching halt. Groups in front and behind convened on the green and tee box. Representatives from the resort stormed out to pull the signs and prize notification (only one car can be won per event). And, lo and behold, the drink cart showed up. It was game on. Travis and I had been drinking "Rattlesnakes" the day before. Vodka, cranberry, and something else. The drink cart lady lined up twelve Double-Grey Goose Rattlesnakes and we toasted the accomplishment. I needed it as I was shaking like a leaf. Called my dad who asked me how much I had to put down to take the shot. When I told him that my friend hooked me up; he told me that it had to be the greatest day of my life. My marriage to my wife and the births of my three children notwithstanding, it just might be.

Thunder and lightning brought everyone off the course and onto the patio of the JW Marriott. From there it was a full blown party. Everyone had heard the news and wanted to hear the story. Drinks were flowing. The resort asked me and my playing partners to sign some paperwork, which included sworn affidavits from me, my playing partners, the witnesses, and representatives from the club.

The resort then whisked me away to let me know that they had immortalized me in the TPC Hole-In-One Club. Within hours I was on the plaque outside the Men's Locker Room at the TPC.

That was it as the rest of the day was uneventful with the rain stopping allowing us to finish our marathon round. Amazing day...the best seven hour round of my life.

Thank you, Titleist, for being there with me that day. I still can't believe it's happened, and it's probably good that there was no cash settlement. I'd been tempted to take it, but I'll be driving around in this thing with a constant reminder of an amazing accomplishment. Audi A6! Thanks for letting me share.

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