Ellensburg Golf and Country Club_hole 9

Four golfers have scored a hole-in-one on hole 9 in the past month at Ellensburg Golf and Country Club.

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Hole-in-ones are always fortuitous. Never expected, never sought out.

I tried myself on Tuesday afternoon, hoping one of the 32 golf balls from the small bucket Keith Crimp loaned me would drop into the cup on the 9th green at Ellensburg Golf Club.

Hole-in-ones have been far too common in the last four weeks. From Sept. 11 to Oct. 6, four aces have been recorded — all on the par-3, 9th. What’s more remarkable is it was the first for each golfer. And the pin on the minute green was in the front bowl for each, which often can feed balls to the cup.

But regardless, bravo to the four players (Cam Clark, Cain Tillett, Dylan Richards, Jack Cohen). Hole-in-one’s are few and far in between.

“Never seen anything like that before,” Ellensburg Golf Club co-owner Frank Crimp said. “Just an oddity.”

Ellensburg Golf Club offers a hole-in-one insurance pot to its members. It cost $5 and once an ace is made, half the insurance pot goes into the individual’s pocket, the other half quenches the member’s thirst at the bar. Unfortunately for the club, three of the players aren’t members and the other (Clark) didn’t purchase the insurance.

“They were all pretty excited and wanting to know what we could do for them and I said, ‘Other than getting your name in the paper, we don’t provide anything,’” Frank chuckled.

I’ve already achieved a long-coveted goal many won’t accomplish — twice. My first was in 2012 at Tyee Valley Golf Course in SeaTac, and then a few years later at Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent, which earned me a few bucks in the books.

I guess I can die peacefully.

But Tuesday after the pouring rain settled, I wanted to see if I could purposefully will one into the 9th hole from 164 yards out with the uncanny amount of aces occurring. With a slight wind from the northwest, it only added another ingredient to the challenge.

I had to wait for three groups to pass through to give myself time. Once the last group finished, I was up. The pin wasn’t in the prime location that magnetized four balls into the cup. That aforementioned pin placement is bordered by a bunker on each side of the green, and often, mother nature will kick the ball off the backside of the bunkers, which channels to the hole.

“The pins were generally cut in the front, which makes it more accessible,” Frank said. “And sometimes you get the roll off the backside of the bunkers. That helps too but they still have to hit a good shot.”

Tuesday’s pin placement was back left of the top tier, where hole-in-ones are basically hopeless. No matter, I was pin seeking — and I needed better than just a “good shot.”

I credit my first few hits to warming up, finding a feel for the aura. A couple found the green with my 8-iron, a few missed left because I was attempting to have the ball ride the wind, but overcompensated.

Out of the 32 balls, only one had life. My shot perfectly faded from the left side of the green to a few yards in line with the pin — but touch downed 4 feet past the pin. It looked awfully a lot closer from the tee box.

I was unsuccessful, which is expected. Who am I thinking? A mere 32 balls and I think one could fall in?

Who knows how many more it could take. But that’s why hole-in-ones are so appreciated and valued.

But I’ll be back. There’s something eerie about the 9th at Ellensburg Golf Club right now, and surely, it will capture another little white ball soon.

Luke Olson: lolson@kvnews.com; on Twitter: @lukeolsonb


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