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Zopf: The search for the elusive ace
Times sports writer Jonathan Zopf poses after one of his failed attempts at a hole-in-one. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

During my 11-plus years of playing golf, I have had the opportunity to write down almost every possible outcome on my scorecard.

I’ve birdied holes. I’ve parred holes. I’ve gotten a 12 on a hole. And last summer, I even had a once-in-a-lifetime double eagle on a hole, which was immediately followed by one of my most consistent scores, a triple-bogey.

But through all my pars, bogeys and scores that are too embarrassing for print, I have never experienced a hole-in-one.

About 10 years ago I came close to achieving that ever-elusive ace. Armed with a putter, I hit my bright-green ball as perfect as I could, but just as the ball had reached the top of the ramp, the clown’s mouth shut and I was back to square one.

I can’t even get a hole-in-one at a putt-putt course.

Even with that in mind, and despite the thermometer reaching 91 degrees, I journeyed over to Chattahoochee Golf Course to try my luck at acing one of the four par-3s.

For those of you too lazy or uninterested to read about the overabundance of holes-in-one that have occurred at the newly renovated Chattahoochee in the article corresponding to this column, let me sum it up.

Since it reopened in the summer of 2007, more than 60 aces have occurred at the ’Hooch — that’s what I’m calling it from now on because Chattahoochee is way too long of a name to keep writing over and over again. To put that number in to perspective, that’s more than one hole-in-one a week. For those of you that play golf, you know how incredibly rare that is, and for those of you who don’t play golf, you’re about to find out.

Like I stated earlier, my golf game is about as inconsistent as a politician during an election year, but I still like to go out and give the game a try. Normally, I am accompanied by three of my closest friends and six of my coldest friends (if you know what I mean), but on this day, it was just me, Times photographer, Scott Rogers (just in case a hole-in-one actually occurred), the ’Hooch’s golf pro Mark Bowen and my trusty Taylor Mades.

Usually when documenting a task as great as achieving a hole-in-one, any other writer may lead up to the end result with countless details on how each shot played out. But not I.

I’m just going to ruin any and all the suspense right here and now by letting everyone know that I did not make a hole-in-one.

I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am.

Not only did I not achieve the ultimate goal of acing one of the four par-3s, but I didn’t even come close.

No pins were hit. No balls rolled close to hole. And at no point was there an inkling of hope for a hole-in-one.

In fact, only four, count them four balls of the 16 I hit even made it on to the green, and only two of the four hit the green in the air. It took a strong bounce off the cart path and a friendly roll from the hills for the other two to reach the promised land.

I’m not the most renowned golf expert out there, but I’m sure it’s safe to say that in order to get a hole-in-one, you kind of have to be able to hit the ball on the green. And apparently I can’t do that.

Ten-year-olds can ace a hole at the ’Hooch, and so can octogenarians, but for a guy whose golfing abilities are limited at best, a hole-in-one is downright impossible.

Unless, of course, I can figure out a way to time it just right and get my green ball through that clown’s mouth.

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