Every hole-in-one story has its own unique spin
Through Friday, 85 golfers in the area were able to write that somewhere on their scorecards, according to holes-in-one reported to The Forum this year.
So, what hole yields the most aces?
Leonard Country Club's eighth hole and the 120-yard sixth at Moorhead's Village Green both have been aced six times.
Some avid golfers may never experience the jubilation - and bar tab - associated with an ace. Others, like Rick Johnson of Moorhead, keep having their tee shots roll into the hole from time to time.
"It's always a surprise. I was stuck on 10 for about five years," said Johnson, who aced Nos. 4 and 14 at Village Green this year, now giving him 12 in his lifetime. "You have some shots where you think they might go in, but they don't."
And behind the great shots, there's sometimes crazy stories. Aces have been reported on holes ranging from 80 to 362 yards this year.
Just hours after being interviewed on his nine-hole course in Leonard for this story, Mike Pulczinski watched his 16-year-old son, Austin, ace the 130-yard, slightly downhill eighth hole.
"I couldn't believe it," said his father, who is the owner and general manager of the course. "Now both my kids (including Cody) have holes-in-one on that hole."
Others, like 58-year-old Dan Jackson of Fargo, a frequent player at Edgewood, played golf for 40 years before his first this summer.
That came on the 134-yard 12th hole when his 6-iron faded perfectly and rolled into the cup.
"It's sort of interesting," said Jackson, who was playing with a sore right knee that day. "There's more important things in world than a hole-in-one -you just go high-five guys in the group. You don't yell, you don't scream. I just acted like I did it before. I was just kind of stunned.
"You kind of just take it off your bucket list."
As for the downhill sixth at Village Green, course professional Russ Nelson - who has 15 holes-in-one himself - said the six aces on that hole is no surprise.
"You need a hole that's relatively easy and you need a lot of play," Nelson said. "I think it helps that it's on the front 9, because a lot of people just play nine holes."
Four golfers have holes-in-one on the 141-yard 11th at Moorhead Country Club.
Top courses for aces
Village Green and Moorhead Country Club each have allowed 11 hole-in-ones so far this season.
"We have five par-3s here at Moorhead Country Club and hole 9 and hole 11 are the holes where we seem to get the most holes-in-one," said professional Larry Murphy.
Next in line is Leonard with eight.
"This has been a record year for us. We haven't had this many hole-in-ones here," says Pulczinski, who has been in Leonard for six years.
Village Green had 12 aces in 2007 and 2009, according to reports Nelson has kept since 2003.
But is this a record year for aces in the area? That's unlikely.
Because The Forum relies on courses to call in holes-in-one, the randomness of courses to do so may depend on the course, where the golfer is from or even if the ace was reported to the clubhouse to begin with.
A quick check at the 2010 numbers show that 43 aces were reported to The Forum through June compared to 26 in the same period this year.
Skill or luck?
The odds are roughly 12,500 to 1 for an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one on a par-3 hole, according to US Hole in One, a provider of hole-in-one insurance for golf outings and tournaments.
Compare that to professional golfers, who have a 1 in 2,500 chance of making a hole in one on a par 3.
"That shows you how good they are and how good their distance control is," says Edgewood head professional Greg McCullough, who has four aces himself.
At his course, Pulczinski says the increase in aces has little to do with rounds played, which is now on par with last year.
"I think the clubs are more forgiving and I think a mishit goes a bit better," Pulczinski said. "But it's still a combination of skill and luck."
And everyone has a story to tell.
Pulczinski said a woman at his course once had her scorecard read 5-1-10 on the last three holes.
"I've seen one that started 30 to 40 yards to the right and bounced off a tree and in," McCullough said.
On Sept. 6, Ron Torkelson of Fargo and Rick Adams of Dilworth both had holes-in-one on No. 11 at The Meadows in Moorhead, leaving the course pro Corey Herlickson saying, "That's just ridiculous. Same club, too."
"It's still the best feeling in the world for a golfer," McCullough said.
Readers can reach Forum Online Editor Rob Beer at (701) 241-5506