Is a rare feat still rare if someone's accomplished three times in nine years?
Tama area resident Jerry Johnson performed another rare feat earlier this month. Although it was similar to his first two, this one was set a new benchmark.
The 65-year-old Johnson, who lives south of Tama, shot his third hole-in-one in his lifetime at Hi Point Golf Course in Iowa City. This was his first on a par-4, as the previous two, like most hole-in-ones, came on a par-3 hole.
"It's about one every three years for me," Johnson said. "This was my third and I've been playing nine years."
While hole-in-one shots are rare for every golfer, Johnson feels lucky to have hit three since taking up the sport nine years ago. Hole-in-one shots on par-4 holes are so rare, that it's almost unheard of for most golfers.
Johnson's latest hole-in-one didn't come on a 400-yard par-4 or even a 300-yard par-4. It came on a short par-4, 221-yard Hole No. 8 at Hi Point. However, it doesn't diminish the feat, not even a smidgen.
"Not only was it my first hole-in-one on a par four, it was my first double eagle ever," he said. "I had eagles before, but never a double eagle. So that was pretty nice."
Unlike hole-in-ones on a par-3, where the golfer can usually see the ball drop in the cup, this was a bit longer hole with a slight dog-leg left. The hole layout kept Johnson and his son-in-law, who joined him for the round, from realizing what happened.
Johnson used his driver on the hole, as he was without his 3-wood. He didn't take a full swing with his driver. He saw the ball heading directly toward the green, but couldn't tell where it landed as a large oak tree blocked his view from the tee box.
The two-some approached the green and Johnson's son-in-law chipped his shot onto the green as Johnson searched for his ball. Johnson walked to the cup, reached down to pull the flag out and ... surprise.
"I said, 'you're not going to believe this,'" Johnson said. "He walked up there and said, 'you've got to be kidding.' It wasn't quite at the bottom of the cup. It was about two inches down, stuck between the flag pole and the side."
Although the shot was very skillful, Johnson also knows some luck is involved in a shot like his.
"It just so happened that I got a right kick," he said. "It was a good shot all the way, but we didn't know how good until we got up there. Hitting the green and getting a hole-in-one are two completely different things."
On the next hole, his son-in-law almost hit a hole in one. The tee shot on the par-3 hit the pin. It was almost a double celebration.
"It's a tradition to buy drinks for everyone in the club," he said. "There was only one 16-year-old kid in there drinking a Pepsi and the manager of the place. We sat down and he had a Gatorade and I had a root beer. We had our own little celebration."
Johnson's first two hole-in-ones came on the same hole at the Tama-Toledo Country Club. This latest one will be one he'll remember for a long time. His son-in-law might, too.
"My daughter lives in Iowa City and the next day was my son-in-law's birthday," Johnson said. "So I took him golfing and I got the good present."