Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Ace

Two of my Gospels students, Max and Michael, missed class yesterday as they represented WCS in a golf tournament. Here is one of my favorite golf stories, from November 25, 2011.
It was a big week for my nephew, Ben. The youngest child of my brother, Dave, and  gorgeous sister-in law, Sally, Ben is married to the wonderful Courtney and is in his fourth year of med school at the University of Oklahoma. On Wednesday of this week, Ben did something few athletes accomplish in their lifetime: he hit a hole-in-one Wednesday on the par three 17th hole at Tallgrass in Wichita. Ben was a very good high school multi-sport athlete who picked up golf quickly in his teens. We talked about it yesterday before dinner. Ben told us at first, he assumed he would ace a hole sometime in his life but the longer he played, the more he saw players who had golfed for decades without a hole-in-one to their credit. I think a sliver of doubt began to creep in. We discussed whether it was more difficult to hit a hole-in-one or bowl a perfect 300 game. (I think it's harder to bowl 300 because you have to be perfect on fifteen consecutive rolls of the ball.) Regardless, I think Ben is the only family member to do either so his young life is off to a pretty good start!

What are the chances of  a golfer recording that ace? Answers I found vary but here is a section from Answers.com:
But as close to an official source as exists on this topic is Golf Digest.

The odds Scheid came up with were lower than any others cited above: 5,000 to 1.
If you play 1,000 rounds in your life, according to Scheid, you have a 20-percent chance of recording an ace.
 If you play 20,000 rounds, you're odds are 1:1.
The Golf Digest study provided many great nuggets of information, even breaking the odds down by quality of play:

Tour player making an ace: 3,000 to 1
Low-handicapper making an ace: 5,000 to 1
Average player making an ace: 12,000 to 1 Some other highlights from Scheid's calculations:

Average player acing a 200-yard hole: 150,000 to 1
Two players from the same foursome acing the same hole: 17 million to 1
One player making two holes-in-one in the same round: 67 million to 1

I can't say I understand all the statistics of the above piece. My brother, Scott, who has taught AP Physics, had some doubts about how they came to their conclusions but in any case, it's no easy feat. I found the stat fascinating which calculated that if you play 20,000 rounds of golf, your odds are 1:1 or 100%. I did some figuring and discovered that to play that many rounds, you would have to tee it up every day for fifty-four years, nine-and-a-half months. That's alot of time on the course! And I would doubt, based on my one time adventure on the links, that their calculation would hold true for me.

I never asked Ben why he plays golf. Maybe it's because it's outdoors or maybe because it's a challenge. Maybe he knows it's a sport he can enjoy all of his life or maybe it's more socially related. I am pretty sure of this; he did not start playing golf simply with the goal of hitting the elusive hole-in-one. The ace was simply a product of the time he has spent on various courses, the ability he has developed over the years, and his competitive nature which has enhanced his skills. Ben has some physical talent but then, so do I, I think. But I will never accomplish what he did this week because I have chosen not to be a golfer. The people that do great things are the ones who try, who participate, who attempt. The Christians who get their prayers answered are those who pray. Isn't it funny there are no Biblical examples of walking on water where there was absolute failure? We may make fun of Peter but like we've heard it said, at least he got out of the boat. Ben may never hit another hole-in-one BUT he's got one more than me. At least I can figure out this one simple mathematical  equation: you can't hit a perfect shot from your living room..... or from your laptop screen. The club has to be swung.

Applicable quote of the day:
"A hole in one is amazing when you think of the different universes this white mass of molecules has to pass through on its way to the hole."
 Mac O'Grady

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

No comments: