Congratulations to FHY Member Merritt Zahner
The odds of a golfer recording a hole in one on any particular hole are 12,500 to 1, about the same odds of bowling a 300 game. Long odds for sure but it happens fairly regularly. Most golf courses will have a dozen or so aces recorded annually. An average avid amateur golfer has about a 10% chance of making a hole-in-one over a lifetime of playing the game. It happens.
Those odds seem rather pedestrian relative to the odds of making two hole-in-one shots in the same round. The odds of scoring two aces in the same round jump a little—well, actually a lot— up to 67,000,000 (that’s million) to one. To put it in perspective, you are 67 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to make two hole in ones in one round of golf. It doesn’t happen…but wait – IT DID! On Friday, June 16th a longtime member of Fox Hopyard Golf Club, Merritt Zahner, made 2 hole in ones over a 90 minute time span on his home course.
Here is the story…The round started as many had before, kicking the weekend off early with the usual 1:30pm Friday match pitting Merritt Zahner and his partner Joe Breda against their familiar adversaries Joe Lambert and Bob McGovern. Nothing noteworthy happened over the first 7 holes other than Lambert and McGovern jumping out to a three up lead. The fireworks began on the 155 yard downhill 8th when Zahner authored a perfectly struck towering 9 iron which landed 6 inches from the hole and one hopped into the cup. Pandemonium ensued with high fives, chest bumps, hugs and yelps a plenty shared among the group. One player complained later of bruised ribs. The groups on 7 fairway and 18 tee also witnessed and celebrated the ace. For Merritt Zahner it was his first hole in one in 30 years of playing the game and as he celebrated the accomplishment he thought, “Okay, now we’re only 2 down on this match.”
In the world we live in today it seems that what we do is not as important as who knows what we did. So the social media blitz ensued. Facebook posts, Instagram, Twitter, texts, emails and phone calls. All of this nearly ended the game, good thing it didn’t as the best was yet to come!
History nearly repeated itself on the 11th hole. The front left hole location offers the prospect of funneling a well struck shot off the back stop down to the hole. Zahner did exactly that but his shot ended up 6 inches short of his second ace of the round. Nevertheless, it did bring his team back to only 1 down in the match.
The 14th hole played 165 downwind on this day and the long hitting Zahner found himself with the magical 9 iron back in his hands. Zahner, who possesses somewhat of a buggy whip swing that routinely passes through a half dozen swing planes, clearly had his swing “in the slot” on this day (partial credit to his swing coach Tom Pannier). The group, already half-dazed, watched in awe as Zahner once again hoisted a towering 9 iron dead on towards the pin. In a nearly exact fashion as a mere 90 minutes earlier the ball plunked down 6 inches from the hole and incredibly one hopped into the cup.
At this point the atmosphere went from exhilarating to surreal. The scene was reminiscent of Caddyshack with dancing, singing, and generally just cutting loose. The improbable happened, the odds were beat. Zahner joined a very small fraternity of players in the history of golf to accomplish such a feat. The ace was once again witnessed by the group on the 13th fairway.
The match was level now although it sort of faded into irrelevance. A call was placed to the clubhouse requesting 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio to be delivered to the 15th tee. The home holes at Fox Hopyard open up a bit and allow for communication across the fairways of which there was plenty to the other member groups on the course.
After holing out on the 18th, the group hastily dispatched for the bar knowing they had just witnessed and experienced something of significance and that it needed to be shared. Tales of Merritt Zahner’s historic two hole in one day at Fox Hopyard will be shared for years to come.