Chocorua golfer experiences hole-in-one, times two
On a beautiful, sunny Veterans Day at Ridgewood Country Club in Moultonborough, Jim Machowski and his buddies decided 18 holes weren't enough. Extending the round proved to be the best golfing decision Machowski ever made.
After walking off the 18th green with friends and playing partners Ben Gutowski and Joe Fitzpatrick, Machowski, a 47-year-old Chocorua resident, returned to the 242-yard first hole.
And aced it.
Then he teed off on the 249-yard second hole — and aced that, too.
"Not par-3 holes but par-4 holes," Machowski, still basking in the glow of the achievement, said earlier this week.
"I mean, what are the odds of it happening once, let alone twice in a row? I mean, it's insane."
So, how rare are back-to-back holes-in-one?
According to US Hole in One, a Philadelphia company that provides insurance to tournaments offering expensive prizes for holes-in-one, the odds of back-to-back aces are 156 million to 1 — but that's for par-3 holes. The company's website doesn't provide odds on back-to-back aces on par-4's.
As for his own calculations, Machowski labeled his feat "95 percent luck and 5 percent skill."
"I live for the game of golf," he said, "but I also know firsthand, it's the hardest game to play."
Machowski, who works at Discount Beverages in North Conway, described himself as a quiet and private person who doesn't play in tournaments. He said he's not a member of any golf club and simply enjoys playing with friends.
Before Nov. 11, Machowski had carded a single hole-in-one, five or six years earlier at North Conway Country Club. Playing in a threesome that included the club's retired pro, John McDonald, he used a 7 iron to ace the par-3, 167-yard 13th hole.
When he teed off for the second time on the first hole at Ridgewood — this time hitting driver — he had no idea he'd just knocked in another ace.
"The sun was so bright and in our eyes that we didn't see where the ball actually went," Machowski said. "After driving towards the green in our carts, I started walking around looking for my ball. I looked everywhere until Joe, looking down into the hole, yelled that he found it. My immediate reaction was, 'This can't really be actually happening.'"
He pulled out the driver again for the second hole.
"I hit it really well, and Joe says he knows it's close to the green," Machowski said. "Now on that hole, there's a little uphill to it and a soft spot just before the green. We get to the green, and again I can't find my ball. For giggles, Joe starts running to the hole, saying it's there. Then he pulls the pin out."
Sure enough, Machowski's ball surfaced.
"I'm totally dumbfounded and thinking, 'No one is going to believe this,' " Machowski recalled.
Ridgewood head pro Mike Uhlman wasn't at the club when Machowski and his partners went to report his feat.
"We told one of the managers there what had happened, but I could tell right away that she didn't really grasp the moment," Machowski said.
After reporting his feat, Machowski said, he remained low-key the rest of the day.
"There's wasn't any celebration, just a ride back home, where I placed both golf balls in a bowl," he said. "They still remain there, by themselves."