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Ken Reaches A New GoalYes I did it! An accomplishment, great or small has the ability to get you excited and keep you motivated. As a relatively new golfer my score does not put getting a hole in one on my list of goals.  My golfing goal has been to be a good social golfer and to have fun. Most of the golf that I play results in large numbers of balls being hit over trees and into backyards. The water holes have taught me not to buy expense golf balls because I lose them so fast.  But then I made a hole in one!

The pro had told me that I was simply intimidated by this hole and could not take the pressure. He told me that I was choking on the third and seventh holes not because I could not hit the ball but that I had convinced myself that the hole was too hard.  Over the last two years I have brought my score down from an embarrassing 128 to a semi embarrassing 100.  I have a few pars and one lucky birdie but mostly I have to take a water penalty or lost ball stroke on most holes.

This third hole at my club had not always been such a challenge. When I was first learning which clubs to use for different distances I found out that on the third hole, with a lite wind and the hole in he center of the green, in could reach it with a well struck 6 iron. I was so proud to hit the green of this 156 yard par three.  The hole provided me with a great boost in confidence as the rest of my game continued to demonstrate a terrible lack of consistency in my game.

So what a boost to my motivation, not only in golf but also in my self esteem and pride. About a year ago my neighbors asked me to play golf. We reached the third hole after a great first hole and a lost ball on the second hole, resigning me to our maximum stroke count of three over par. We approached the third hole and I had hit the green with my six iron earlier that week and knew the club worked for me if I could just relax and remember all of the instructions and frustrations that had brought me to where I was at the time, playing golf socially.

I was very nervous as my turn approached. They were so glad that I was playing so they encouraged me along.  I teed up and went through my approach and my swing in my head, then it was showtime.  I took a quick practice swing that felt great, so here goes nothing I remember. Holy Cow, or something to that effect as my ball sailed through the air and over the water and onto the green. The feeling was amazing! First came shock. Then confidence and pride as I heard the comments and support from my friends.

The third hole had again come to represent my golfing accomplishments, no matter how small to someone else, they where motivating for me.  I went on to par the hole and win the accolades of my friends who acknowledged me as a real golfer.  That was my goal, to be a real golfer, no matter what that means. Since that time I have never had a good round in which the third hole was my friend.

Now my true nemesis, hole number three, became unforgiving. Not one time did I have a great hole three again. While I am glad that I cannot recall them all, it goes something like this; one, no, two in the water, one over the tree and the next one in the water and then at the drop area another ball in the water. Or the change up strategy was like this,I love my 5 rescue but it is too much club so I will back up to the professional tees and wail it. A beautiful shot with height and distance landing right in the middle of the water all the way to the right. On and on this continued for about a year.

As the rest of my game improved I continued to have the same problem in lowering my score but the number of good shots had certainly improved. Golf has become fun and not a fear even though, as we all know, the frustration and humility never stops. So as I approached the third hole today with my partner, I said I am going to take a six iron out, because I know it is the right club. I am going to just go up to the tee and do it.

I like to play with yellow balls so that I know they are mine in the water and around the driving range. So without hesitation and with nothing to lose, since the last time I played the hole when I put three “great shots” in the water, I was ready. As my partner looked on, she was visibly concerned as I had a history of disappointment on this hole as a reference, I hit it.

I would like to tell how I did this or that, but the fact is I just let it go nice and relaxed. I saw my yellow, pinnacle go sailing into the air. I clearly remember the top of it’s flight as I worried if there we enough distance to get me over the water. The wind was blowing at me and I new that it looked good. Going, going, going, it landed on the green!

My yellow ball looked good as it decided what to do next. About eight to ten feet from the pin on a green that had been treated with round up to kill the weeds and was as smooth as glass. Then it happened. The ball headed the ten feet to the hole made a little turn and fell into the hole. YES!  Did you see that? Oh my God! This is amazing we said.

We hopped into the cart and raced over to the green. Our excitement grew as we approached the green. We had seen it so the conformation visit to the hole to retrieve the ball was icing on the cake.  Yes. We were so excited with hugs and high fives and pictures. The phone calls started and I was posting on Facebook within an hour.

The champagne and celebration continued as we finished the round.

The rest of the round was a lot of fun but at the end of the day my score reflected my usual game with two strokes less than my usual score which accounts for my great hole three.  The second nine cost me quite a few balls but who cared at that point, I now have made a hole in one.

Now fully motivated to start the week with an unexpected surprise I have momentum and a positive “can do” attitude.

While it was never a goal of mine to get a hole in one, it was my goal to par hole three again. I still believe that hard work and determination can lead you to reach new heights. Not only do I have confidence in my ability to take on my favorite hole in the world, but the confidence has transferred to my enthusiasm for everything in life. I now have a plaque recording my hole in one and I have a story to tell for the rest of my life. Hopefully, I will remember the great feeling every time I tell it.

I’d bet I tell it often