Golf: Experiencing a hole-in-one an extra special moment

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Each summer for the last several years, I’ve played in the Maplehurst golf outing. I’ve even written a previous column about what an exceptional job they do organizing and putting on this play day. This year was no different in that regard.

One thing was drastically different, though. One of the guys in my foursome actually shot a hole-in-one. This was my first experience witnessing one of golf’s rarest rewards. I’ve seen professionals get them on television, and I’ve heard numerous stories about others. They pale in comparison to what it was like to be standing there watching the entire process. It was truly an experience that seemed to unfold in slow motion while it was happening.

My buddy, Chris Carlson, teed up his ball on the 17th hole at Rochelle Country Club, a 104-yard par 3 positioned at the northwest corner of the course. He took a practice swing or two, and then fluidly took his back swing and followed through until his pitching wedge made contact with the ball. That’s when real time ceased to exist and slow motion took over.

The ball gracefully left the tee in an arc that carried it straight toward the targeted green. While it sailed through the air, we all knew immediately it was going to be a good shot. No one knew just how good, though.

When the ball did eventually land, it was directly in line with the flag. It bounced once, and then took a tiny little hop or two prior to starting its roll toward the cup. At this time, we’re shouting all kinds of encouragement to the little inanimate white sphere. It was like for the next few seconds it could actually hear us. It responded to our every command. Go! Go! Go!

Then, we saw it hit the stick and disappear into the cup, and at that precise same time secured its permanent place in all of our memories. Then, real time returned. We were all yelling and high-fiving each other. I was excited and happy for my friend.

One of the other things that made this moment extra special was one of the other members of our foursome was Brian Carlson. That’s Chris’ dad. Not only was he excited and happy as well, he immediately swelled with pride. It was one of those “That’s my boy” moments that every dad dreams about.

If I couldn’t have gotten the hole in one, this was the next best thing. Glad I got to be there! Congratulations, Chris!

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Aug. 15-21, 2012, issue

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