It’s a rhetorical question but one that maybe someone with a math degree from MIT can answer - the odds that golfing buddies Gary Ferguson of Elmore and Bill Brand of East Toledo would each shoot holes-in-one within a week of each other at Hidden Hills.
The local men golf together in different groups at Hidden Hills every week, along with Dan Brossia, Dave Bruhm, John Anderson, Herman Jeskey and William Wirick.
Ferguson aced the par-3 No. 9 hole on Aug. 19. He used 3-wood to make the shot from 181 yards. His playing partners were Brossia and Bruhm.
“I felt just perfect over the ball, for some reason,” said Ferguson, 57, who also had a hole-in-one four years ago. “I felt really good. It was a beautiful shot - a perfect shot shot straight down the fairway that went right at the green. It hit once, rolled up and disappeared into the cup.
|Bill Brand||Gary Ferguson|
“The hole has very guarded fairways and trees on both sides,” he said. “It’s a heart-shaped green, with the point toward you. The pin happened to be down in the front, so it was real narrow.
“I thought I was going to go over. It hit the pin and went in immediately,” he said. “Right from the tee, I knew I had it.”
What was Ferguson’s reaction when he knew it was in the cup?
“I raised my arms and hollered, ‘hole in one!’” he said. “Nobody else seemed to be that enthu-siastic. We’re pretty competitive. I had a good round, which was nice. To have a decent round and to have a hole-in-one, it was quite pleasurable.”
Ferguson said he didn’t have any trouble concentrating after his ace on No. 9 and finished the round with a 9-over 81.
“I felt really good, really strong,” he said. “Heck, I had a 41 on the front and a 40 on the back. It just charged me up.”
Ferguson praised the reception he got from the staff at Hidden Hills.
"They treat you very nicely out there at Hidden Hills,” he said, adding the staff gave him a small trophy and took his picture. It’s just nice. It makes me want to keep going back.”
On Aug. 26, Brand shot his hole-in-one on the par-3 No. 18. He used a 5-iron to ace the shot from 150 yards. His partners that day were Jeskey and Wirick.
“I was quite surprised,” said Brand, 66. “I did see it roll in the area of the cup, but I thought it went behind the pin. The closer I got to the green, I knew it was in the hole. Nobody else was on the green.”
Brand was the first to tee off in his threesome, so he had to wait a few minutes to reach his ball.
“I was a little anxious,” he said. “The other two guys hit pretty quickly, so it wasn’t too long of a wait. They were surprised. They were looking all over for the ball and I just happened to walk up and said, ‘here it is.’
“It was in the hole,” he said.
Brand, who was in the group behind Ferguson the day Ferguson shot his hole-in-one, finished his round with a 22-over 94.
“That was about an average day for me, actually,” said Brand, a 1960 Waite graduate who has been golfing for about 35 years.
Brand said he came within eight inches of a hole-in-one several years ago at Chippewa.
When he finished his round last Tuesday morning, Brand said he decided to retire his hole-in-one ball next to his bowling trophies. He has been bowling for 59 years and has rolled four 300 games and two 800 series.
He said he got just as big a thrill shooting an ace as he did bowling his first perfect game.
“They’re about equal,” Brand said, “because both of them were totally unexpected.”
Two other golfers have shot holes-in-one at Hidden Hills this summer - Chris Fajkos on July 31 and David Jacobs on Aug. 6.