What to Do When You Make Your First Hole In One (and How to Remember it In Style)
My father recently had his first hole in one at his 40th high school reunion. Caught up in amazement of the feat he played on, slapping fives and silently sweating what would eventually become a large tab at the 19th hole.
Fortunately, my quick-thinking mother called and instructed him to hold onto the ball (he had yet to take it out of play), remember the club he hit (it was a 7 iron), and most importantly, take a picture (he was two holes ahead, so he faked it at the 9th, and you’d never know unless I told you…sorry dad!).
Unfortunately, not every hole in one story has a happy ending. If you stop and think about it, would you know what to do in the rare event that you hit one? It’s worth considering, especially if you take your golf memorabilia seriously. If that sounds like you, then you’ve probably got any number of display cases to store logo balls from all the bucket list courses you’ve played. Doesn’t your hole in one ball deserve the same treatment?
When the time comes for memorializing your double eagle, you’ll be glad to have certain details available to personalize your golf gift. So here’s a list of what you should do when you make your first hole in one. Read it and forget about it until your lucky day arrives (after all, we wouldn’t want to jinx anything).
Step 1: Save the ball
Many hole in one trophy cases prominently feature the ball itself, and that makes sense if you think about it. So the first thing you should do is take that ball out of play! We’ve all experienced the ignominious “post-birdie swing,” so can you imagine the shank potential after a hole in one? Wipe it down (or don’t, especially if there’s a story in that scuff mark) and put it in a safe space, like a pocket in your bag that you don’t use often.
Step 2: Mark it!
Go ahead and put that “1” down on the scorecard and give it a nice, dark circle. When the time comes to pick out your hole in one display case, many will give you the option of displaying your scorecard as well. That card will look real nice in the frame, even if there are some high numbers around it. Did your ace come as part of a career round? Even better.
Step 3: Write down specific details
This can be for your own private records, especially if you like to live your life on the embellishing side. But many hole in one display cases feature a plaque that you can use to display a single version of the truth to all who pass. Write down key details like the yardage of the hole, the distance of your specific shot (you can go back to the tee and shoot it with a range finder if you have one), the tee you were playing, club selection, shot shape, wind direction…if you like to track it, write it down. You can still stretch the truth a bit if you want, we won’t call you on it.
Step 4: Leave the flag in the cup when you take it out…
And snap a pic of the ball in the cup as well. Why? It just looks cool, and you’ll never have to put up with someone asking you if the ball had been completely holed.
Step 5: Take a picture of you with the ball
So many people forget to do this, and they always regret it. If you can, try and get your divot in the frame as well. Some hole in one trophy cases have a frame for your picture(s), so you’ll want to take advantage of that. Then as you relive your shot for years to come, seeing your ball mark will bring back great feelings.
Step 6: Make it official
Your hole in one isn’t official until you complete your round, so depending on where you were on the course when it happened, you may have some golf left to play. Try to control the adrenaline, or your next shot could be a real stinker. You don’t want to put up a big number right next to that “1” on your souvenir scorecard.
Step 7: Register your hole in one
Everyone likes to be in the record books, which is why it’s important to officially register your Hole in One in the National Hole-in-One Registry so that one of your great golf achievements can be enshrined for eternity. Registration is free and makes for a great “in your face” moment should any wise guy or gal ever doubt your claim. Registration in this exclusive club also has its perks; you’ll get discounts on Hole in One merchandise and have access to the record books to see how your ace stacks up against the USGA’s requirements as well as other hole in ones on that very same hole.
So there you have it. Seven things you absolutely have to do when you make your first hole in one. Fortunately for my dad, he crossed these steps off his list and has a great hole-in-one display case (an obvious Father’s Day gift from my sister and me) and story he can tell for years to come.
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