John Habib's City Sports: Manchester's Roger Godin is all aces at Derryfield
The publication "Golf Digest" once reported a study indicating the average player had a 12,000-to-1 odds of making a hole-in-one in a career.
There are many published reports online confirming that the great Ben Hogan, who won nine major championships, never made a hole-in-one.
With all of that in mind, we turn to Manchester's Roger Godin, 75, who has been playing at Derryfield Country Club longer than anyone - 64 years.
Last Sunday, playing a casual 18-hole round with his wife, Monica, Godin scored a stunning ace on the par-3, 182-yard third hole. Stunning because it wasn't the first hole-in-one of Godin's career. Or his second. Or his third.
In fact, it was Godin's eighth career ace and he became only the second player from Derryfield to accomplish the feat on each of the three par-3 holes on the course.
"Because of my age, I used a 7-wood and saw my ball take one bounce in front of the green," said Godin. "I thought it was going to hit the pin and then it just disappeared into the hole. I never thought it would be possible, because at my age it gets increasingly difficult to reach the hole. That's why I use a 7-wood instead of a 7-iron."
Godin joins the late Joe Myrdek as the only two known golfers from Derryfield CC to ever attain three hole-in-ones at each of the par-3 holes. "Alan Zawisza and Billy Conway can attest that Joe did it before me," said Godin.
His first career hole-in-one came in 1962 on the 12th hole. "I was playing in the Industrial League at the time with my partner, Whitey Orzechowski," said Godin. "Red Ryan was the head pro at the time and he dismissed it by saying it was no big deal. But Whitey was adamant about it and even sent my (hole-in-one) golf ball to the Spalding Golf Equipment Company in Connecticut. I was a smoker back in the day and Whitey surprised me by mounting the ball to a wooden ashtray.
"As it turned out, one day some bonehead ripped the ball off the ashtray I left in the clubhouse and I was upset that someone would steal it," laughed Godin as he was telling the story. "I made a stink about it, too. Turns out a week later, someone stole the wooden ashtray and I was left with nothing to show for my first hole-in-one."
But as we all know now, there were more to come.
His second career ace came in the early 70's when Godin was a civilian government worker at a defense factory in Waterbury, Conn. "I was a New York Giants fan and I loved to watch them every Sunday on TV," said Godin. "Well, one day my wife scolded me for being on the couch instead of taking my 8-year-old son (Marc) to the golf course and teaching him how to play.
"We get to the course and I gave my son a scorecard and a pencil and told him to keep track of how many shots I took at each hole. I'm on a par-3 hole and all of a sudden my ball lands in the hole. I'm all excited and then I turn to my son, who writes a 1 on the card and looks at me as if he did something wrong. That was a memorable hole-in-one, for sure."
His third overall ace and second hole-in-one at Derryfield came in 1982 on the par-3, eighth hole playing with his brother, Norm, Ed Bonneville and Bonneville's son.
"That hole-in-one was during a member-member tournament and that shot eventually won the match for my brother and myself."
His fourth (2005), fifth (2006) and seventh (2010) career aces came in Avon Park, Fla., where Godin goes during the winter to enjoy his retirement years. His sixth career hole-in-one was registered at the Sebring (Fla.) Golf Club in 2009.
"I used a 7-iron for the first seven (aces) until last week, when I used a 7-wood," said Godin. "I'm thrilled to death that I have eight holes-in-one. It's a pretty good accomplishment considering I always hear people say they wish they could have one. I keep telling people it's mainly luck because it's something I don't really think about. It's something I never set out to do."
Godin, who started caddying at age 11, has been married for 55 years. In 2008 a surprise 50th wedding anniversary reception was held for the Godins at Derryfield CC. "It was wonderful, especially at Derryfield, which is my second home," said Godin, who has four children, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandsons.
Godin, who plays golf four times a week, was asked if there was a ninth hole-in-one around the corner. "Why not 10?" he snapped back. "Heck, 10 is a good round number."
Don't bet against him.
LAURA DECOSTER, executive director of the New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute/Safe Sports Network in Manchester, has been keeping score on concussions.
"Concussions continue to be an area of concern," said Decoster. "Intense news coverage and the new New Hampshire law about appropriate care has made many aware of the dangers of sports concussion. Nearly one in five of the injuries managed at Safe Sports high schools this year were concussions, a total of 263."
Decoster reminds everyone that the after-school drop-in clinic at 35 Kosciuszko St. in Manchester is open to youth and recreational athletes. Safe Sports Network's comprehensive concussion management services are available for youth leagues.
For more information, visit www.safesportsnetwork.org or call 627-9728.
PIERRE NOEL, a running back/slot receiver for Manchester Memorial, is seeking sponsors toward his participation this summer in the Down Under Sports Tournaments hosted on the Gold Coast of Australia. Noel, according to his mother, Charil Hawkesworth, was one of 25 football players chosen from the New England. She is a single mom of four children and says she's can't afford the $5,000 needed to send her son to Australia.
Anyone wishing to donate can contact Hawkesworth at 674-0247 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
John Habib is a staff sports reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.