Growing up on No. 1 at Summit Chase, Charlie McMenomy birdied that hole more than any other. For an 8 handicap, that's a lot of birdies.
So when McMenomy recently started a planned nine-hole round on foot with a bogey he was glad he had not signed up for a full 18 rounds.
"I was like, 'Oh great, this is going to be a crappy round," McMenomy said.
When he teed off at No. 2, he quickly forgot the bad start. He didn't see his shot come down, but McMenomy heard the clang of the flag stick. He and his playing partner Greg Bender checked the rough and the sandtraps before looking at the pin. That's when they saw the dent in the cup.
"I was pretty excited," McMenomy said. "We were high-fiving and everything. The first thing I was thinking was, 'Of course I did this on a Friday. I should be at work.'"
But work would have to wait. A feat with 9,222,500 to 1 odds was still ahead.
After the ace, Bender called the pro shop and asked if rules mandated they play 18 for the hole-in-one to count. Incorrectly, McMenomy was told to keep playing if he wanted the ace to be official. The rest of his front nine continued nicely as he played well.
"I was trying for the best round of my life," he said.
Even after a couple of bogies, McMenomy stayed on pace to break 80. Then he got to the par-3 16th. Number 16 is the easiest hole-in-one hole at Summit Chase.
"I told Greg, 'Wouldn't it be cool if I got another hole-in-one here?' McMenomy said.
As a tribute to his dad, right before his back swing, McMenomy shouted, "This one is for dad. Hole-in-one, here we go."
His sand wedge arced toward the green and the same sound of ball meeting pin reflected back.
"We looked at each other and said, 'Absolutely no way,'" McMenomy said.
There was no dent this time so they started looking for the ball. When it didn't turn up in the trap or the rough both McMenomy and Bender ran to the hole.
"It was right at the bottom of the cup. That is when we went absolutely nuts," McMenomy said. "It was just crazy."
McMenomy parred out for his best round of his life, a 75. Two hole-in-ones and a new best score is worth leaving a bit early from work. According to Golf Digest, the odds of it happening are 9,222,500 to 1.
The ace on No. 2 was McMenomy's his first official hole-in-one. But the 2000 South Gwinnett grad had holed out on a par 3 at The Hooch on a mulligan years before. It was his grandmother Alice's birthday and his parents gave him a plaque, ignoring the pesky strictness of golf rules. His record-setting day should get McMenomy a new plaque. This time it was his grandfather Patrick's birthday.
"He's a golfer, too," McMenomy said. "It's pretty cool."
McMenomy now approaches his par-3 tee shots differently. Before, he just tried to hit the green. His expectations are higher now.
"It's funny, now if I pull it or push it, immediately after I hit it, I say, 'Nope,' he said. "I have this new standard."
There was a clubhouse full of people waiting at the bar when McMenomy walked off No. 18. It's an unwritten rule that a golfer who makes a hole-in-one buys everyone a drink, and McMenomy's tab was nearly $200.
A newlywed, his wife met him at the clubhouse after the round. Before the celebration ended he made a quick run to a gas station to buy lottery tickets. He didn't win the jackpot, but he did hit two numbers, including the Mega Ball. The winnings helped with the bar tab.
"It might be the luckiest day of my life," he said.