By CRAIG HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
In 1979, Tom Flatley recorded his first hole-in-one at a golf tournament and won a monster truck.
Photo Courtesy of Jim McGill
Tom Flatley, left, and playing partner Al Johnson pose after Flatley recorded a hole-in-one at Chautauqua Point Golf Course. Flatley recorded two aces within a week.
Though he did not win any prizes when he recorded his second and third hole-in-ones, it may be just as memorable as the rare accomplishments happened just a week apart.
Flatley, who lives in St. Catharines but has a summer home in Westfield, went out two weeks ago for a round of golf with Westfield neighbor Jim McGill and his cousin Al Johnson at Chautauqua Point.
Hole No. 9 is an up-hill, par-3, 131-yard hole, according to Flatley. He used his 9-iron and hit what he felt was his best shot of the day. However, when they started walking to the green, Flatley couldn't find his ball. After searching unsuccessfully, McGill told Flatley to check the cup.
"I'm not looking in the hole," Flatley told McGill.
As McGill looked into the hole, he asked, "That is a Titleist 2 you're playing with, right?"
"I couldn't believe it," Flatley recalled.
If he couldn't believe that one, he surely couldn't have imagined what would happen a week later at the same course.
Hole No. 8 is an 118-yard par-3. The Tee-box is elevated, giving golfers a perfect overhead view of the hole. Flatley used his wedge and hit a "perfect" shot. According to the three men, it bounced eight inches in front of the hole and bounced right into the cup.
"The one on No. 8 was beautiful," Flatley said. "A woman playing in front of us told her partner, 'Let's watch this guy. He is going to get a hole-in-one today.' It's those funny little stories you remember. I play with the same guys all the time. It's conversation. We want every exciting moment we can get."
McGill has been playing golf for 30-40 years and had only witnessed one other hole-in-one. "I would say the law of averages doesn't play into your favor," McGill laughed when trying to describe seeing two aces in as many weeks. "We all just found it hard to believe. The second one was a perfect shot right at the hole. He is a good golfer, but even good golfers don't do what he did."
Flatley, who just turned 69, was a standout high school golfer and hockey player growing up in Windsor, Ontario. He was offered full scholarships for both sports. Despite having a 2 handicap and being a high school champion, he chose hockey. In 1962, he played Jr. hockey for the Detroit Red Wings.
"I have been playing golf since I was 12," he said. "It's incredible. I haven't had a hole-in-one in 34 years, and all of a sudden, I hit two in two weeks. It was nothing phony about them either. They were good shots."
Johnson has been playing golf with Flatley for roughly six years and playing golf for 50 years. He described Flatley's feat as "amazing."
"I don't believe it," he said. "Over the years, I have seen a lot of shots come close and they don't go in very often. His second hole-in-one was just a beautiful thing to watch. We are starting to call him 'Ace.'
"Tom is a good guy and fun to play golf with," Johnson concluded. "In our retirement years, it's good to meet up with a guy like him."