Hole-in-four: Golfers beat odds

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The odds of getting a hole-in-one don't favor most golfers.

But since July 2, four golfers at Haymaker Golf Course beat those odds, which are conservatively figured in the neighborhood of 5,000-to-1.

"I've never heard of a course having four (holes-in-one) in a week, let alone three on three consecutive days," said Hank Franks, head professional at Haymaker. "It's unheard of."

Since Haymaker opened in August 1997, 69 golfers have scored holes-in-one on the 18-hole, city-owned golf course.

Steamboat Springs golfer Paul Robey added to that number July 2 when he scored the first hole-in-one of his golfing career on the 218-yard 17th hole.

"I don't play a lot of golf," Robey said. "I'm more of a fisherman. I play golf seven or maybe eight times a year."

But after his hole-in-one, Robey said he might start playing a little more.

Robey was entertaining friends visiting from Minne--apolis when he hit the shot.

"We could see the ball flying right at the hole, the ball disappeared, and we all heard a loud clank," Robey said. "I knew the ball was either in the hole or 25 yards off the green."

It was the second hole-in-one at the course this season. Luke Brosterhous nailed the first one May 12.

On July 3, David Robertson, of Apex, N.C, used a 3-iron to find the cup on the 17th hole with one shot.

Franks was amazed that two different golfers could get holes-in-one on the same hole.

Then, on July 4, the day after Robertson hit a hole-in-one, Steamboat's Bob Key extended the streak to three straight days. Key used a pitching wedge to sink his first shot on the 120-yard 12th hole.

"It's just dumb luck," Franks said of having three holes-in-one in three days. "That's the only way I can explain it."

But the trend continued July 9 when Ron Simms, another local golfer, hit the fourth hole-in-one in eight days. He scored his on the 146-yard 7th hole.

Franks said the run was unexpected during the peak of the course's season, when most of the golfers on the course are playing it for the first time.

Most golfers who score holes-in-one are familiar with the course and the intricacies of the greens, he said.

In a typical year, nine or 10 golfers will score holes-in-one at Haymaker. Larry Gotieb scored the first hole-in-one at Haymaker on Aug. 27,1997.

Franks said the greens and fairways at Haymaker have been busy during the past week. The course typically hosts 250 to 300 golfers each day during the peak of the season.

Still, he didn't think the increased amount of golfers on the course would directly translate into the increased number of golfers hitting holes-in-one.

"The odds of getting a hole-in-one are huge," Franks said. "I don't think a few more golfers would really change the odds."

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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