'Once in a lifetime' shot

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— Eighty-three-year-old golfer Bill Neish wasn't saying how much it cost to buy a round of drinks for the Steamboat Men's Club.

But whatever the price, it was well worth the thrill of scoring a hole in one recently at least for this longtime golfer.

"It's the sort of thing that just happens to you once in a lifetime," Neish's playing partner Kirk Mahaffey said.

Neish has been playing the game for the past 20 years,and never dreamed that he would be one of those guys that would knock the ball into the hole with one stroke and have to buy everyone on the course a drink.

In fact, he was so sure that it wouldn't happen that he decided not to invest $5 to buy insurance (offered by the men's club), which limits a player's expense to just $50 to buy the traditional round of drinks associated with acing a hole.

"He was too tight to buy the insurance," Mahaffey said.

However, it only took one drive on the Steamboat Golf Club's No. 3 hole July 11 to make Neish a believer. He used a nine iron to drive the 137 yards from the blue tees during men's day.

"I guess if you live long enough anyone can get one," Neish said of the accomplishment.

Neish plays golf at the local club about twice a week during the summer months. He took the sport up more than 20 years ago, but this summer marked the first time he has recorded a hole in one.

"With my vision I couldn't quite see it go into the hole," Neish said. "But one of the guys I was playing with watched it the whole way. I couldn't believe that it went into the hole."

Neish was so surprised that he didn't take fellow golfer Kirk Mahaffey's word for the fact the ball went into the hole.

"I told him that I thought his ball went into the hole but he either wasn't listening to me or didn't want to believe me."

When Neish approached the green of the par 3 hole he saw Mahaffey's ball on the back side and started to walk toward it.

"Kirk told me that I had better look in the hole, because that wasn't my ball," Neish said. "So I walked over and pulled it out."

Neish was playing with Mahaffey, Larry DeJarnette, and George Dalrymple that day.

"He didn't go crazy on the green," Mahaffey said. "I don't think it really sunk in for him until we were in the bar and cooled off a bit."

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