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Pros more likely to hit an ace

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Local golf pros are living proof that professionals have a much better chance of hitting a hole-in-one than your ordinary golf junkie.Take Rifle Creek Golf Course head pro Tad Holloway, who’s hit eight in his lifetime. It took him a while to get his first, but once he did, they started falling in droves.”Then they flew out,” Holloway noted. Greg Gortsema, the head pro at Glenwood Springs Golf Club, has six holes-in-one to his name. As was the case with his peer, Holloway, it took Gortsema some time before recording his first ace.”Oh, my gosh,” he said. “The first one didn’t happen until I moved here in 1991. It took me about 15 or 16 years of playing.”Since then, they’ve fallen more regularly. Gortsema even drilled aces on back-to-back days at his home course in the spring of 2002.And it’s always more expensive for a head pro to hit a hole-in-one. Tradition dictates that when someone aces a hole they’re obligated to buy a round of drinks.”I have one and I get dinged,” Gortsema relayed.Same goes for Jason Franke, a pro at Battlement Mesa Golf Club.”That’s kind of understood when people do that,” he said. “That never made sense to me. It should be that everyone’s buying drinks for you.”Franke, who jokes that he was born and raised at Glenwood Springs Golf Club, known affectionately as The Hill, has hit just one hole-in-one in his lifetime. He sunk that one on the eighth hole at The Hill when he was just 12 years old.His dad, Jeff Franke, just nailed his first-ever hole-in-one last weekend at the Glenwood Open tournament (see related story).Though he’s never hit one at his home course, River Valley Ranch Golf Club’s Zack Ray has racked up five holes-in-one during his playing days.”My very first one was when I was 16 in California,” Ray recalled. “I’ve had a few since then.”He remembers that first one like it was yesterday.”I had just started playing – my second year – and it was pure luck,” he said. “It was a downhill par-3. I was using a 6-iron and it was 150, 160 yards. It ran up the green and landed short.”Ray even had a good stretch in which he struck holes-in-one every summer.”It all happened four summers in a row. It was really strange,” he said. “It was really strange.”And if you think a hole-in-one is a ho-hum moment for a pro, think again. An ace is something they’re always chasing, just like your average amateur.A hole-in-one ball usually doesn’t ever return to the links.Said Gortsema: “I still have all my balls somewhere.”


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