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Hlinsky cards a rare albatross at Hardwood Hills

A sign on the tee box of hole eight at Hardwood Hills Golf Course near Alexandria shows the layout of the hole that Forada's Steve "Beaver" Hlinsky got a hole-in-one on for a double eagle on July 2. Eric Morken/Forum News Service

A hole-in-one is supposed to be celebrated on the tee box as a player watches the flight of the ball before it falls into the cup.

That's not how things played out for Forada's Steve "Beaver" Hlinsky. Not at all.

Hlinsky was golfing with a couple of buddies, Darrin Anderson and Jared Randt, at the Hardwood Hills Golf Course west of Alexandria on July 1 when he stepped up to the eighth hole. This was Hlinsky's second time golfing the nine-hole course, so he wasn't all that familiar with this hole.

Number eight at Hardwood Hills is a par 4 that plays 271 yards off the men's tees. The tee box sets up on the left with tall trees sitting about 70 yards in front and a narrow fairway to the right. A small pond comes out on the right side of the fairway about 40 yards before the green that is hidden from a player's view from the box.

STEVE HLINSKY

"You can't see the pin," Hlinsky said. "You're supposed to shoot straight and then to the left and chip on and in. That's why it's a par four."

Hlinsky and his buddies were aggressive in going toward the green with their tee shots.

"They went through the trees and they still had a nice ball where they could chip on," Hlinsky said. "I cleared the trees, so I went right over the middle and couldn't find it."

He knew he had hit a good shot and couldn't understand why they couldn't find his ball. The three drove around looking for it before Hlinsky finally decided to take a drop.

"I chipped on and still parred the hole with a drop penalty," he said. "They were chipping on and were on the green, so I went to pull the pin."

That's when Hlinsky realized that both of the balls he used were in the cup.

"I took the pin and I was running," he said. "They couldn't believe it. It was pretty exciting."

Hlinsky has no idea where the ball landed. He just knew he hit it how he wanted to off the tee, and it happened to be on the right line and avoided the pond.

"It's hard to say how long it rolled," he said. "There was no divot on the green."

Hlinsky laughed when asked how many aces he has had in his life.

"This is the first," he said. "I'm not even close to that."

The odds of getting a double-eagle, or an albatross, in golf are much rarer than a hole-in-one on a par three. Exact odds on an albatross are hard to quantify, but Dean Knuth, the inventor of the United States Golf Association's slope rating system for golf courses and handicaps, puts them at 1-million-to-1. The odds of making an ace on a par three are about 13,000-to-1 for the average golfer. Either way, Hlinsky beat the odds in a round where he says he really wasn't playing all that great overall.s not how things played out for Forada's Steve "Beaver" Hlinsky. Not at all.

"It was pretty exciting," he said. "I think I got a 44 overall. Hole nine, I didn't do very good on that one after that."

Hlinsky added that he was supposed to be at a wedding by 3 p.m. that afternoon.

"That didn't happen," he said with a laugh.

He had some celebrating to do in the clubhouse.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229
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