Gene Secker had played golf for 60 years. A couple of weeks ago, the 72-year-old came close to his first hole-in-one, but the ball ended up two inches past the cup.
Secker, a retired Chicago police officer who’s lived in Naples for 22 years, made a hole-in-one on Saturday at Valencia Golf & Country Club on No. 12. He hit a 7-iron from 127 yards, and was with a different group of golfers than usual in the “Dewsweepers” who tee off at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The pin was on the back right of the green near a slope.
“If you hit it too close to the edge there, it’ll just roll off the green,” he said. “I aimed about 10 feet left of the pin and I hit it well. I thought I hit it too far. I saw it bounce and start rolling toward the pin. One of the guys said ‘I think that went in!’”
Sure enough, there was the ball at the bottom of the cup.
“I hope I don’t have to wait another 60 years to get another one,” Secker told playing partners John Ames, Joe Sadelfeld, Tom Guthrie with a laugh.
More like 24 hours. Secker came to No. 8, the same hole where he was two inches short of an ace previously, on Sunday with a different group of Dewsweepers—Dave Lundgren, Dave Lisbon, and Jack Staples.
The pin was back at the right on the green, which has a ridge dividing it. Secker hit a 6-iron from 145 yards.
“I thought I hit it too far,” he said. “We pulled up there and there was no ball on the green.”
So Secker grabbed his wedge and putter and went to the back of the green. No ball.
“I looked and said ‘Hey, it’s in the cup,’” he said.
Secker said he didn’t even think about an ace four holes later when he got to No. 12, the hole he aced the day before. Secker said he was a high-handicapper and only plays on the weekends.
Seckers’ were the most notable, but there were a couple of other holes-in-one worth mentioning.
At Royal Wood, Jim Krzykowski had a different kind of two-fer. He witnessed Bob St. Francis’ ace on No. 12 on
Dec. 13, then made one of his own on No. 6 at the course on Saturday, three days later.
At Bentley Village, Alan Rosenstein made a hole-in-one on Dec. 9 — his second in 18 days.
Thiet Sattler made her fourth hole-in-one, on Dec. 16 at Palmira from 121 yards on No. 8 of the Osprey Course with a 5-hybrid. Witnesses were Cynthia Winter, Diane Sutta, and Kay Fagliarone.
Southwest Chapter Senior Championship: Mike Dero and Tim Miller tied for first place in the 2017 Southwest PGA Chapter Senior Championship at Wyndemere Country Club on Saturday, Dec. 9.
Due to darkness, the scheduled sudden death playoff had to be canceled, making Dero and Miller co-champions. Both players finished with 2-under-par 70s.
Gene Fieger, the 2016 champion, tied for third with John Calabria with 71s. Michael Brooks shot a 74 and JC Anderson had a 75.
In the pro-am event, the teams of Dero and Gary Smith finished in first place with a 64. Tim Miller and Bob Hielscher were second with a 65. Tied for third place were the teams of Marion Heck and Al Newberg, and Brooks and Dan Garrett with 66s.
LPGA Girls Golf Christmas Scramble: The Klonowski family hosted the scramble at Naples Grande Golf Club on Saturday.
Pro Janie Huling and amateurs Addison Klonowski, Annika Church and Pearl Jenkins won with a 5-under-par 31. Pro Gail Graham and amateurs Chelsea Baker, Rebecca Davis and Muffy McCabe were second with a 33. Naples High girls golf coach Laura Jewell-Nichols and amateurs Ashley Zimmermann, Mackenzie Meador and Sara Vitasek also had a 33, and were third.