It's always sad writing this column, the last one concerning the 2004 golf season.
For one, it means summer is ending and the hectic high school season is now here.
It also usually means there's only two more months of golf in the Brainerd area. Fortunately they're the best two months of the season.
With the leaves changing color, tourists and bugs departing and prices dropping, fall is a ball when it comes to golf.
It's also the last chance to record that hole in one for 2004.
A tradition for the year's last golf page is highlighting the reported holes in one. The Dispatch tallies the numbers and makes public the one golf hole that yields the most aces.
On Aug. 16, 2000, 33 holes in one were reported to The Dispatch. Of those, 11 were at the Preserve at Grand View Lodge. Seven of those were collected on the 138-yard second hole.
Two years ago the 171-yard 17th hole at the Preserve at Grand View was victimized the most.
This year the number of holes in one has increased to 53 so far. Of those 53, Eagles Landing yielded the most with seven. Four of the seven happened on the 125-yard 17th hole.
"It's 115 yards from the white tees and it's pretty well guarded," said Josh Dahl, clubhouse manager at Eagles Landing. "The oak trees come into play, but people can usually throw it up over them. There's a pine tree in front of the green, but all the trouble on that hole is such that it's not an issue because people are hitting sand or pitching wedge onto the green."
Eagles Landing's 15th hole provided two holes in one and the third hole gave up one. The 250-yard eighth hole was the only hole not aced this year at Eagles Landing.
"For us it's a combination of the number of rounds we see and the par 3s on the back. People are hitting wedges into them instead of 3-woods like they are on the front nine," said Dahl. "The amount of play has had a lot to do with it, though."
Other holes yielding two holes in one were Pine Beach East's 10th and 18th, Pine Meadows' sixth hole, the 17th on the Dutch Legacy at the Legacy Courses at Cragun's, the 15th hole at Ruttger's, the fifth hole of the Woods at Grand View's Pines Course, and Golden Eagle's 11th hole.
All but the 172-yard fourth hole at Madden's Pine Beach East course were aced. Chris Foley, head PGA golf professional at Madden's, attributed the many aces to a combination of amount of play and number of par 3s on the course.
"The East Course, for instance, has six par 3s," said Foley. "That increases your chances for a hole in one. The eighth hole tends to be the highest number. It's downhill, not a real long shot at 118 yards from the tee. People are hitting a shorter club in.
"As far as the amount of play, that's the highest number of rounds on any of our three courses. The more golfers though the higher the odds."
Golden Eagle's 206-yard fourth hole was the only par 3 not to yield a hole in one on that course.
This year's hole in one trend was quality rather than quantity.
Justin Goeble of Baxter had the longest hole in one. He carded a double eagle on the 355-yard, par 4, 17th of Bobby's Legacy at the Legacy Courses at Cragun's July 10. Goeble used a driver.
Tom Stoy of Little Falls aced the 181-yard, 15th hole at Pine Ridge in Motley, helping him land a new car.
Denny Martin's hole in one on the sixth hole at Pine Meadows was the ninth of his career.
While the number of carded aces increased, had the weather been better there probably would have been more.
"July was great and August has been a wash so far," said Dahl. "June was also bad and we had a pretty wet spring. We've really had only one good month, weather-wise. Because of that people aren't getting excited about coming to their cabin in the Brainerd area or coming up for other things. It's been a bad summer weather-wise."
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.