Steamboat local scores rare double eagle

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— To hear Rod Schrage describe his golf game, he’s more Al Czervik than Ty Webb in “Caddyshack.”

“You have to consider I’m not really a golfer,” Schrage said. “I’m long and wrong most of the time.”

But golf is a fickle, frustrating and, every once in a while, beautiful game.

Schrage, a Steamboat Springs resident, doesn’t get to play often. When he does, it doesn’t always go well. But that wasn’t the case last week, when Schrage holed a double eagle on No. 18 at Catamount Ranch & Club.

The double eagle is a thing of golfing lore, even rarer than the elusive hole-in-one.

According to US Hole In One, a company that provides hole-in-one prize insurance for golf tournaments, the odds of an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one are about 12,500-to-1. They get better — 2,500-to-1 — for professional golfers.

Double eagles — holing out in two strokes on a par 5 or acing a par 4 — are much less common.

In a 2004 article in Golf World, Dean Knuth put the odds at 1 million-to-1. Knuth, who came up with the United States Golf Associations’ slope rating, said his odds are an approximation. But considering other sources put double eagles at 6 million-to-1, it’s safe to say Schrage completed a very rare feat.

Schrage never has had a hole-in-one and said he’s trying to “get good enough so I can play with my wife.” After an on-course lesson with Melissa Hatten, Catamount’s director of instruction, Schrage was feeling good.

Fellow Steamboat resident Pio Utu was in front of Schrage on No. 18 and invited him to play through. Schrage said he’d just wait.

He hit his drive on the par-5, 518-yard hole down the middle of the fairway. He was 250 yards out and grabbed his hybrid four. Utu had waved him to hit up. Schrage took a swing and knew instantly that he made good contact with the ball.

“Pio starts jumping up and down and screaming,” Schrage said. “I didn’t realize it was in until I got up there. I did something right to hit two good shots in a row.”

Schrage didn’t immediately realize the significance of his feat. He certainly was happy with the outcome, and he simply took the ball and threw it back in his bag.

“All my friends have told me, ‘You better get that thing framed,’” he said.

On that one hole, he realized the beauty of golf via a magnificent one-hole stretch where he looked like a pro. But it didn’t take long for the reality of golf — which is, after all, a four-letter word — to knock him back down.

“I went out last night, and the magic was gone,” Schrage said. “I didn’t have anything that resembled that. I’m back to reality.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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