Monday, November 12, 2012 — the official statutory holiday in Canada for remembering and giving thanks to those brave men and women who fight for our freedoms and safety.
As an army brat, Remembrance Day brings back fond memories of times with my dad, a veteran of two wars, a career soldier and avid golfer. He taught me how to drive, golf and yell at bad referees on TV He passed away in 2008, but I still think of him every day, especially when I’m on the golf course.
But this Remembrance Day was even more special as I was able to witness my Golfguy score his first hole-in-one after 20 years of playing this game that normally beats us up. And it couldn’t have happened in a more wonderful venue – the Kai Course at Ka’anapali, Maui.
The trade winds were really blowing that day (hard to keep our hats on!) and at least one extra club was needed. I watched as he picked up his trusty 4 iron, thinking that’s too much club for this 167 yard shot, but he said that he had the “right number” and so I couldn’t really interfere.
When he hit his ball, I saw it fly high and right assuming he’d miss the green. But then the ball started to move left towards the ocean, hitting the front edge of the green and rolling towards the pin way in the back. There was a little ridge in the middle of the putting surface so I couldn’t see the ball after it stopped rolling so we really didn’t know where it ended its journey.
I proceeded to hit my shot and was delighted to see that I would be dancing. But as I walked up to the hole, I felt badly as my Golfguy’s ball was nowhere to be seen. I assumed that it rolled off the back (as balls have been known to do with these tricky, grainy Bermuda greens). When he couldn’t see his ball and started searching for it in the rough, I joked it was probably in the hole.
Now, I always check the cup when I’m playing golf in Maui, looking for the “burn” – that rough edge that tells you which way the grass is growing. It makes a huge different on these greens, so I never putt without knowing the direction of the grain. Otherwise I may find myself putting from on the green to off it.
When I looked down at the hole, wouldn’t you know it – the Ka’anapali logo was staring me right in the face! I looked up at my Golfguy and roared, “You did it – You Kicked Aces in Ka’anapali!” He was stunned. No fist pump…No woohoo! He just stood there looking at me. I did get him to pose for a picture, but even then, his smile wasn’t showing any teeth. What’s up with that!? If it were me, I’d be hooting and hollering so loudly they would have heard me back in Vancouver! Oh well…
We got to the next hole and he stepped up to the tee box and stood looking down the fairway. There was a single playing ahead of us, but he was well out of range of our tee shots. So I asked my Guy, “What’s wrong? You can’t hit that far.” He said nothing – he just waited.
When he finally did hit his drive, it went 30 yards farther than I’ve ever seen him hit, landing right where the player was previously standing. LOL! He knew he had adrenaline running through his veins and his body said, “Wait”. Good play Golfguy!
Later that night I asked him about his ace, his choice of club and his comment about the “right number”. He reminded me of our conversation over dinner the night before with our friends Claude Brousseau and Anne-Marie Dugré.
Claude is an award-winning teaching professional at the Kapalua Golf Academy on Maui and Director of Instruction at Golf Court Academy in France.
“Claude said to me… ‘What’s your number? Know what it is, know how far you hit each club, choose the right club for you and then commit’,” explained Charles. “Well there was a lot going on. First, the winds were howling right to left at about 15-20 mph; they had moved the tees up from the normal 187 yards to 167 that day and the pin was way in the back right. I knew my 4-wood which I used on previous days was too much club, but my standard 6-iron would not stand up in the wind. I thought about taking a 5-iron, but I was worried my ball would end up in the right bunker. So I grabbed by 4 iron, aimed 10 yards right of the pin so the wind would take it to the green and hit it hard. And all the ‘right numbers’ came together perfectly!”
When I told Claude about Charles’ accomplishment and his part in making it all possible, he was as excited as we were, “Every golf shot makes someone happy; today it was Charles!” said Claude. “Enjoy this great game and Realize your Golfing Potential!”
Yes, it was a magical day for us at Ka’anapali. We have 10 days left before we have to return home. We’ll play every day until we leave in our efforts to stock up and carry home some Aloha moments that will hold us through the dark, wet Vancouver winter.
Brrr…I can already feel the chill of the not-so-great-white-north. I think when I finish this post I’ll check out flights for our return in the spring. I may not have a hole-in-one on my score card yet, but I know a “right number” when I see it – for me it’s 86F/30C.