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A day to remember for COURIER publisher

by Peter Weinberger | pweinberger@claremont-courier.com

Just to set the record straight. I am not a golfer. Not the miniature kind. The one with 500-yard holes, sand, water, tall grass, and putts that never find this tiny hole. That’s the kind of golf I play.

Once a year, my son Matt and I participate in a charity golf tournament at the Red Hill Country Club to raise money for Children’s Foundation of America and Trinity Youth Services. It’s a fun event, with many different things to do and support. Monday’s event included a chance to win $10,000 from a helicopter dropping golf balls into the 18th hole, an In-N-Out Burger truck, great prizes, and reception after. Heck, we were even fed lunch and dinner. And of course, there’s beer.

The good news is over $100,000 was raised for a very good cause. It also gave Matt and I time to play golf together.

I’m happy to say my son can hit the ball a mile and is a very good putter. Given we were only playing our best shot between the two of us (tournament rules), I knew my cringe-worthy drives off the tee would do little damage and hopefully not hit someone or something.

COURIER Publisher Peter Weinberger stands at the fourth hole during a charity golf tournament at Red Hill Country Club in Upland on Monday after shooting an unlikely hole-in-one.

I don’t have my own a set of clubs, except for a putter. But that did not seem to matter. Matt and I shared. And I have golfed before, owned my own set of clubs and at one time was even a member of a golf club. But that was more than 20 years ago. So, when we started, I didn’t need to warm up. I was ready to go because there wasn’t a beautiful swing to mess up.

Matt and I each shot a par four on the first hole. But that was it for me. The longer I played, the more my mind started to think too much, and my body started to remember my age. But I was having a great time on a perfectly cool, sunny summer day.

By the fourth hole, a short 135-yard par three, I was my usual self. My slice was in full effect, I lost a ball in a water hazard, and whacked a drive off the restroom wall. Yep. Good times. But this par three had a small sign stating, “Get a hole-in-one and win a year’s worth of golf balls.” I paid it no mind.

When I was ready to hit, I chose an eight-iron, which is way too much club for that distance. But a stiff back limits my swing, so for me this worked. The only thing I did differently was adjust my tee higher, figuring it gives me more room to hit the ball in the air.

When I finally swung, I barely felt the club hit the ball (a good thing), looked up and it was flying right toward the hole. There was some glare from the sun, but I did see the ball hit the green. Then it disappeared.

There was this silence for a few seconds to process what just happened. Then Matt said, “I think it went in the hole.” I confidently retorted, “No way. It went past the green.” As we walked to the hole, Matt kept saying, “I think it’s in the hole. I think it’s in the hole.” I still did not believe him.

As I got closer, I still could not find the ball. It wasn’t anywhere in sight. I started walking faster. When I got to the hole and looked down, with the flag still in the cup, I saw my ball at the bottom. I just shot a hole-in-one!

All I could do was start screaming. The other golfers probably thought I just broke my leg. But there I was holding up the ball like a little kid during Christmas. And it certainly felt like a holiday!

As we walked off the green to the next hole, I looked up and there was a Claremont COURIER sign stuck in the grass. We sponsored that hole. At that point, I swear I heard angels singing, or music … or something.

The odds of getting a hole-in-one for a non-professional golfer are 12,500 to one. For me, that’s more like 120,500 to one. No one had shot a hole-in-one during the tournament in the last six years. The prize was quite generous too. Golf balls are not inexpensive, and good ones cost $50 a dozen. The fine print said I’d won 12 dozen balls. That’s $600.

Even though I will not use 144 golf balls next year, we have already decided to reward our subscribers with a chance to win a COURIER Hole-in-One Champion golf ball(s). Now that’s something to celebrate.

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