An HIO Story with a Twist
So this starts out as you would imagine any HIO story does, I hit a high, arrow-straight six iron into a 165-yard par 3 at Hilldale Golf Club in Hoffman Estates, IL. From my perspective on the tee box, it bounced once directly in front of the pin and disappeared into the late evening. I glanced, rapidly, from one to the other of my foursome hoping that one of them saw, what I thought, what I hoped I saw. I had been the last man off that tee box, so without a word we all bolted for the carts and sped, as fast as golf carts allow, down the paved path. How many times had I walked on to a green after having watched my ball land somewhere near the pin but had been far enough away to not see where it had stopped, glancing not so surreptitiously into the cup just in case it had ended its flight there instead of a greenside bunker or beneath a pine tree? “It’s not in the cup,” I thought as we rolled up to the green. “It’s never in the cup.” Apathetic with the thoughts of past disappointments I was not the first one out of the cart. My cart mate ran past me on to the green. He jogged past the hole and peered in but kept jogging and showed no emotion. I walked, expectant, but incredulous until I saw it, the Calloway 1 Hex Soft Tour ball, in the cup, label up. I dropped to my knees, likely creating two dents in the soft surface, and rubbed my hands over my face. Holy shit I had done it! The Holy Grail of Golf. Shouts, camera phones activate, poses reaching into the cup, holding the ball etc. etc. ad nausem. Most HIO stories end here, or hereabouts. Not this one.
For now, however, I’m thinking about the ho-hum HIO Reddit post with the obligatory photo of me holding a ball standing next to a flagstick that will garner a lackluster 123 up-votes and a few kind comments of congratulations. Yawn. Half the r/golf members that even bother to read the post thinking I probably faked it. Because, let’s face it, a photo of you standing on a green next to a flag stick holding a Titleist don’t prove jack shit. But I digress.
We finish the round, only two holes left, with the promise of me buying drinks, yada yada – by the way, this is backwards isn’t it? Why should I buy the drinks? Shouldn’t everyone buy me drinks? But, again, I digress. It’s late now as we finish, pro shop is closed and my cart mate returns the cart to the garage and there’s a guy there washing carts. He starts to walk away and forgets the scorecard, jogs back and says to the cart dude, “Ooo, I need that score card my buddy got a hole-in-one on 16”, and cart guy says, “They got cameras on 16.” “Really?” I’m swapping spikes for street shoes back at the car and when my buddy strolls up and says, “They got cameras on 16.” “Really?”, I reply. “Yeah”, he says, “you’re supposed to call the pro shop tomorrow to get the details.” Now, I’m thinking how cool would that be to get a recording of my HIO? Freakin’ bonus, this is like icing on an already frosted cake!
During a lunch break at the conference I’m attending I call the pro shop and a lady answers and I tell her that I hit a HIO on 16 yesterday and I heard they have cameras on that hole. The whole time I’m imagining that you log on to a website and for $9.99 they will send you a video file of your miraculous feat or something like that. Instead pro shop lady says, “There are cameras on 16 and there’s also a contest!” Say what now? “I think it’s like for a $1000 or something,” she says.
Sweet Mother of Vishnu and Heyzeus Christo! This just keeps getting better!
Pro shop gal says she doesn’t have the whole story but she’ll find out more and call me back and she takes my contact info. I’m leery, but giddy with expectation. She never calls back that day or the next. Third day of the conference and I haven’t heard a single word of the presentations because my brain is busy spending $1k on new golf gear, M6 driver (that clearly I ain’t getting’ from Rory – yes, this happened the week of the PGA Championship), Scotty Cameron, Vokey wedges, personalized head covers, you name it. The conference winds down about four PM and I give a call to the pro shop again. This time I get the gruff, sun-crisped, embittered old duffer behind the counter and explain again that I hit the hole in one on 16 on Tuesday. “Oh, you’re the guy”, he says. “Well you gotta talk to Jim the manager, but he left for the day.” I begin to suspect I’m getting the run-around. For some reason they don’t want to give me the $1000. “Give him a call at 8:00 AM tomorrow, he should be available.” WTF? They’re stalling, they have to pony up a grand and they don’t have it. I’m on to these weasels. They installed these stupid cameras and now some out-of-town jackass actually hit pay dirt and they’re on the hook for a thousand greenbacks. I steel myself for a battle and set a reminder on my iPhone to call the pro shop once again and nail down Jim for the dough-re-me!
Shock and awe, at 7:15 AM the next morning the manager of Hilldale Golf Club calls me! “Yeah, Mr. XXXX (this is not my real name), this is Jim from Hilldale Golf, so here’s the deal…” I’m waiting for him to say something like “Yeah, unfortunately the cameras on 16 weren’t working that day…sorry…” but instead Jim relates the following information: Hilldale Golf Club partnered with a company called Swing King. Swing King enables golf courses to have daily HIO contests, and they install the cameras and underwrite the prizes. You can opt-in while paying for your round or the course can just add a few bucks onto the greens fees and everyone has a shot. This helps drive business to the course and makes it an attractive destination for events etc. Everybody wins. I win! It’s finally real now, I got a hole in one and now I’m getting’ a grand for doing it! And there’s a recording! Here
Jim tells me I have to come into the pro shop and fill out a W9, and the standard Swing King release forms so they can plaster my name all over their site, I got no problem with that. I gotta wait 30 days for the deal to go down and my wife has already spent the money, but what the hell I still got that HIO, and I’m waiting for that recording so I can bore the shit out of everyone playing it over and over. And I’m thinking of changing my Reddit name to u/Ace1000.
You like apples? How ‘bout them apples?
TL;DR I scored a one on a par three, it was recorded and I won $1000 to boot! I love apples.