Saturday, March 11, 2006

Albatross

There's an article over on the Golf Digest website, in its Masters preview section, about double-eagles, a k a albatrosses. The albatross is a much more rare accomplishment than the ace. While the odds of an ace are somewhere around 13,000-to-1 for average golfers, the odds of a double-eagle are variously said to be anywhere from a million-to-1 to 6 million-to-1.

The article is a good read, and you can read it here. It includes the following story:

Manuel Land, a 74-year-old retired auto-parts salesman from Pleasanton, Texas, was in the pro shop at Pecan Valley GC in San Antonio a few months ago, ready to pay his green fee when one of the pros told the other, "This is the guy in the [newspaper] article on the wall." The pro comped Land's golf, all because of what happened to Land on May 21, 1982, as he played Pecan Valley's 525-yard par-5 finishing hole with friends Louie Smith, Tom Adams and Roy Halpin.

Smith, who ran a club repair business, was the first to play his second shot to the elevated green about 225 yards away. He hit a 3-wood. Land selected a 4-wood. Both men hit solid shots but assumed they would have chips for their third shots. "I was going around the back of the green to see where our balls were," Land says, "and Tom said, 'They're both in the hole.' "

The double eagles by two golfers in the same group was a first...

The article also includes this bit about Byron Nelson:

But a long golf résumé doesn't guarantee one of the long wonders in tournament play. Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer each have two in casual rounds -- Woods knocked in a pitching wedge for a double eagle practicing for the 1995 Walker Cup at Royal Porthcawl GC in Wales, and they share a deuce on Isleworth's par-5 seventh hole -- but haven't recorded any in competition. Neither has Byron Nelson, though he was known for hitting his fairway woods as straight as a row of corn. Even for a legend, even if it was just for kicks, you don't forget an albatross.

"I've had one double eagle, and I remember it well," says Nelson, who turned 92 this year. "It was the 16th hole at Texarkana Country Club in 1934, the last year I was pro there. I was playing with Mrs. Farr, whose husband was president of the club. It was more or less a playing lesson -- I wasn't paying that much attention to my own game. The hole was about 575 yards but downwind and with no watered fairways. I hit a good drive and took a 2-wood. I hit it well, and I thought I'd get close to the green. The ball went out of sight in a little swale in front of the green, but then we saw it run right onto the green and in the hole."

Nelson has eight aces to his lone albatross, a ratio that hints at the probability of the two feats.

2 comments:

  1. Cyndi Klorer11:21 AM

    Hi, I'm the daughter of Manuel Land and am trying to find the original article. The browser button did not work! Please help!
    On another note, my father, Manuel Land just had his 79th birthday, is a four time Cancer survivor and still plays golf 2-3 times a week! He is now about a 10 handicap and has shot his age 17 times in the last 6 years!
    Can someone help me find the original article?
    Thanks!
    Very proud (and golfer) daughter of Manuel Land!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cyndi,

    I know that you published your comment 6 years ago and I'm not sure if you ever found the article. But according to this link, it says it's from Golf World April 2, 2004.

    http://www.doubleeagleclub.org/index.php?suffix=theraresbird

    Best of luck,

    Bryan

    ReplyDelete

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