This summer is my fifth summer back working at the Pine Beach East Course at Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN. Against the ideals of the managers and the assistant managers at the course, a common closing shift tradition is to hit a ball or two off of the first tee near the very end of the afternoon shift. While this isn’t the best use of our time, it is a nice one to two-minute reward from the busy day on the course. On my first day back I met and worked with a first-year intern from Ferris State. Traditionally, the interns here at Madden’s are exceptional golfers in their own right. Tyler—the intern—was holding down the pro shop on this given May afternoon, while I was working outside service. Washing carts, cleaning clubs, and carrying bags are the traditional job descriptions of this job; not hitting balls onto the first green.
Quick tangent, I had noticed in a few driving range sessions that I was struggling to hit my mid-irons with any significant distance. All my irons seemed to top out at about 150 yards. (Note: I’m a baseball player, I try to break 100 at our 69-rated par-72 course. I’m not good.) What I also noticed at the range was that I hit my 4-hybrid about 200 yards.
As is tradition with the outside staff at the East course, 8:30 p.m. rolled around, one cart was on the course, and all my closing tasks were complete for the day. The two Top Flite golf balls that I found during the day were starring at me like the dessert line at a buffet. So I decided, “Hey, I’ve been struggling with my mid-irons, why don’t I try and hit a ¾ 4-hybrid to bounce and roll up onto our 160-odd par-three first hole. On paper, a great idea that held the possibility of little to no embarrassment. Oh was I wrong…
As I stepped onto the tee-box—hybrid and Top Flite in hand—I looked back and saw Tyler watching me through the window in the pro shop that overlooks the golf course and cart staging area. The pressure mounted. While I don’t know the exact quote in my head, it was along the lines of, “I want to impress this Golf Management Intern with my golf game.” I took my swing… As I made contact with the ball it started on a common path of mine; straight, then a gradual cut to the right. This time it took off and wasn’t so gradual. For those that aren’t familiar with the Pine Beach East course, the par-three hole ten runs parallel with the first hole. With the tenth green about twenty yards in short of hole one, and about 70 yards to the right of the first green. The ball continued to cut, and cut, and slice. Then hit the fringe on the left side of the tenth green, and with the spin from this drastic slice the ball bounced directly to the right. It rolled, and rolled, and rolled…
My heart sank, and a pit grew in my stomach. I knew what was going to happen next. Finally, the ball disappeared and fell into the cup on hole ten. A hole in one… sort of. I looked back and Tyler, and in a sense of shock and excitement he had his hands in the air in the East pro shop and began laughing hysterically.
I had my first hole-in-one, from the 180-yard unintentional hole that is the tee box from hole one to the green on hole ten.
**True story of Brett Cloutier’s experience at Madden’s as told by Jonathan Larsen, Assistant Golf Professional at Madden’s.
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