TEWKSBURY – A hole-in-one in golf is sort of like no-hitter in baseball.
You have to be good obviously, at least on that particular day, but there is also a certain amount of luck involved. Another thing the two rarities have in common is that they often come in the most unlikely places from the most unlikely sources. For example, Roger Clemens never threw a no-hitter in his career with the Red Sox, but Hideo Nomo threw one during his one season with the BoSox.
Likewise, some great golfers, both amateur and professional have never had a hole-in-one, while some, shall we say less than gifted golfers, have done so. Locally, one of those less than supremely talented linksmen recently joined that exclusive club, as Tewksbury native Craig DeSisto accomplished the feat on Wednesday, September 9, at Trull Brook Golf Course.
And don’t worry about the above paragraph insulting DeSisto’s ability on the golf course. He will be the first to tell you that he will not be earning his PGA Tour card any time soon.
“I am pretty bad at golf,” the 38-year old DeSisto said when discussing his rare accomplishment. “I just go out and play for something to do with my friends. I don’t have golf shoes, I don’t know which club to use in different situations. I just use what feels good and do the best I can.”
His best was certainly good enough on that day, on the 140-yard par-3 sixth hole at Trull Brook. For one hole at least, DeSisto was as good as any PGA professional, as everything worked perfectly in leading to the ace, courtesy of his trusty 9-iron. He might not be a great golfer, but he knew he had hit this one pretty well. He just didn’t know how well.
“I am pretty good with my pitching wedge, my 7-iron and my 9-iron, so I try to use them as much as possible,” DeSisto said. “As soon as I hit it, the four of us (in his group) knew it was a good shot. I knew I hit it straight, but I figured it was like 30 feet short like usual.”
But this one wasn’t short. This one was spot on, landing on the green, and then rolling just a couple of feet into the hole for the ace. The sight of the ball dropping into the hole set off a celebration for DeSisto, his friend and regular playing partner Keith Fillmore of Tewksbury and the two other players they had been paired up with for the day.
“I was just kind of in disbelief. I just kind of looked at the other guys and we were kind of like, did that really happen?” DeSisto said. “Everybody in my group and the group behind us was congratulating me. After everybody got down there, they told me to keep the ball in the hole, and after everybody made their shots, I took the ball out of the hole and we took a couple of pictures, and I put the ball in my pocket.”
The accomplishment was certainly worthy of congratulations, as the odds of an average player making a hole-in-one is roughly one in 12,500. To put it further in perspective, a hole-in-one is scored roughly once every 3,500 rounds of golf. And while there are approximately 128,000 holes-in-one per year in the United States, which sounds like a lot, this is from over 450 million rounds of golf played on a yearly basis.
“A lot of people there that day were telling me how rare it is,” DeSisto said. “The group behind us was saying that they had played 80 years of golf between them and none of them had ever had one.”
But DeSisto now does have one. The eagle was part of a pretty good day overall for DeSisto, who like most of us weekend warriors has some days when you just can’t do anything right, and other days when things are working better than others. But although he played pretty well on the day, DeSisto, who probably gets out to ply three or four times a year, resists the notion that he was especially “on” for the round.
“I never feel that way,” he said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t know what feeling like that was like. I just go out and hit it and do the best I can. It definitely wasn’t a great overall day for me. On the first hole, I whiffed my tee shot twice.”
The hole-in-one did at least temporarily solve one problem for DeSisto, who was playing the round without a putter.
“I left my putter at home that day, but I didn’t need it on that hole,” DeSisto said. “My (two and a half year old) son had been playing with my clubs in the yard. I thought I had picked them all up, but I got to the course and realized that I had forgotten the putter, so I had to borrow my friend’s”
You can bet DeSisto won’t forget his putter at home again. You can also bet on him making one other change to his playing routine.
“People have been asking me if I have video of the shot, and of course I don’t, because I didn’t expect to have a hole-in-one, so I would never take a video,” DeSisto said. “But I am going to take a video of every par 3 from now on.”