Just when you thought you might have heard all the hole-in-one or success-with-new-clubs stories, along comes Timothy Holmes, of Millers, who has managed to combine the two.
First, the clubs:
"I work for Westinghouse and when I changed jobs last fall [going from Hunt Valley to Sykesville], I planned to play more golf, and was looking for a new set of clubs," Holmes said. "A friend of mine suggested it was easier to build my own than I ever imagined. And it was.
"I looked at a merchandise catalog, ordered two kits -- we decided we could build two sets cheaper than I could buy a new set for my son -- and my son and I put them together. The kit came complete with heads, shafts, grips, and full instructions, .. and for the 28 clubs, we probably didn't invest eight hours of time.
"Because we considered it a father-son project, we had to work when our schedules agreed." Holmes is 42, his son 16.
"Two Saturdays ago, we put the grips on in the morning and, naturally, figured we'd go check them out," Holmes continued.
You guessed it. Little Creek Golf Course in Spring Grove, Pa. No. 6, 104 yards, pitching wedge, bingo! The first hole-in-one for the elder Holmes.
Making your own set of clubs with no experience is one thing. A hole-in-one is something else. But what would be the odds of combining the two the first time you used the clubs. Shades of Ripley.
"The clubs are perimeter-weighted and have improved my game 100 percent," said Holmes, a 22-handicapper who plays regularly in a twilight league and may be ready to expand his playing horizons (if not his club assembly horizons).
"It used to be I hit a 6-iron 150 yards; now it's an 8- or 9-iron. And the accuracy from 150 to 160 yards in is much better. The last three times I've played Bear Creek [in Westminster], at the par-3 17th [147 yards], I've hit it inside of eight feet. I just can't believe it."
Local qualifying for the National Long Driving Contest will be held at four additional Maryland sites (after yesterday's first one at Liberty Golf Park in Eldersburg), beginning Saturday at Longview GC in Timonium.
The other locations are June 23, Queenstown Harbor Golf Links in Queenstown; June 28, Northwest Park GC, Wheaton; and June 30, Poolesville GC, Poolesville. All starting times will be 3 p.m.
The three longest drivers at each of the eight (three in Virginia) Middle Atlantic Professional Golfers' Association sites will qualify for the Section finals, July 14, at Shannon Green GC in Fredericksburg, Va. From those 24, the top 12 will qualify for the District 10 finals, Aug. 17, at Langley Air Force Base, Hampton, Va.
The District winner will go on to the national finals, Sept. 12-15, at Boca Raton, Fla.
Entries will be accepted today for tomorrow's qualifying round for the 24th annual Optimist Junior World Championship. Qualifying by age groups for youth 10-17 will be at WestWinds CC in Frederick, beginning at 9 a.m. Further information is available from Phillip Albert in Clarksville, (301) 531-3414.
The entry deadline for the Maryland Amateur Stroke Play championship is June 26. The tournament will be played at Mount Pleasant GC July 5-7. Entries and information are available from the five corporation-operated city courses.
Entry deadlines for the Maryland State Golf Association are June for the Maryland Open (Prospect Bay CC, July 8-10); July 10 for the Pro-Amateur championship (Caroline CC, July 22); and July 10 for the Junior Boys and Girls championships (Lake Arbor GC, July 23).
Entry deadlines for the United States Golf Association are June for the U.S. Senior Open (qualifying July 15 at Manor CC; championship July 25-28 at Oakland Hills CC, Birmingham, Mich.); and U.S. Junior Amateur (qualifying July 9 at Green Spring; championship July 23-27 at Bay Hill Club, Orlando, Fla.).
This week's schedule:
Today--Men's Publinx championship, Mount Pleasant GC, 7 a.m. Tomorrow--MAPGA pro-am, Lakewood CC, 7:30 a.m.; Juniors Publinx (first of two rounds), Mount Pleasant GC, 12:30 p.m. Friday--MAPGA pro-am, Piney Branch GC, 7:30 a.m.