Like a lot of golfers who are fortunate to have more than one hole in one, Dom DeBonis had to wait a long time between his first and second ace. Like, 45 years.
But once he recorded the second one, the aces started running wild.
It is rare enough that in a span of 33 days, Mr. DeBonis, 81, had four holes in one on four courses in three states.
Even more remarkable is that this Sharpsburg native had a hole in one on three consecutive days while playing golf on a buddy trip in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area — a feat so improbable the National Hole-in-One Association had never attempted to calculate the odds of that happening.
Considering the odds of an average golfer getting a hole in one are estimated at 12,000 to 1 by Golf Digest magazine, the chances of getting one on three consecutive days is beyond astronomical.
Arnold Palmer is remembered for once having a hole in one on the same hole on back-to-back days. But this?
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Mr. DeBonis, who went with 11 other friends to the Grand Strand region. “The guys were going bananas. They said we got to buy lottery tickets, so we went and bought a bunch of lottery tickets.”
Mr. DeBonis felt as if he hit the lottery after the second hole in one, which came Oct. 7 at the Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., when he aced the 129-yard sixth hole using a 7-iron.
A day earlier, playing at Farmstead Golf Club in Calabash, N.C., he had a hole in one at the 112-yard 17th, using a 9-iron. That ace came just a month after his second career hole in one at his home course at The Villages, Fla.
On Sept. 3, DeBonis dunked a pitching wedge from 101 yards into the cup at the par-3 fifth for his first hole in one in 45 years. Little did he know that would spark a sequence of events that would be incredibly rare even for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, let alone a 14-handicap who once played on the Duquesne University golf team.
“What happened with me is that for 65 years I’ve been playing golf and I had one hole in one when I lived in New Jersey,” said Mr. DeBonis, a retired buyer with Hughes & Hatcher clothing manufacturer. “Then about three weeks before I got to Myrtle Beach, I had a hole in one at The Villages. I was elated because the first one was so long ago.”
Nobody, though, would have expected this.
On Day 3 of their trip, Mr. DeBonis and his group played at Blackmoor Golf Club Oct. 8. Sure enough, four holes into the round, he did it again — holing an 8-iron from 118 yards for his third hole in one in three days.
Unlike the first two, Mr. DeBonis and the other members of the foursome didn’t see this one go in the hole.
“There was a tree in front and a shadow over the green, but I said, ‘Oh, my God, I think it went in,’ ” Mr. Debonis said. “We couldn’t see it. One of the guys said, ‘I think it’s in.’ So we walked up to the hole and there it was. I just couldn’t believe it. It was the most memorable week.”
Age doesn’t seem to be a factor for Mr. DeBonis or anyone in his golfing family.
His brother, Al, who lives in Green Tree, is 93 and still plays golf four to five times a week. Older brother Nick, who is 97, goes to Florida each year with Al and “we play as many courses as we can.”
The other member of their family foursome, brother John, died in July. He was 84.
“We’d play together and when we walked into the pro shop they thought we were kidding,” Al DeBonis said. “Our objective is to shoot our age. Dom, naturally, was a shoo-in for that and I was second.”
Dom DeBonis registered each of his holes in one at the participating courses. And each of the courses gave him a hat as a memento of his accomplishment.
His streak was so amazing that when his group played for the fourth day in a row at TPC at Myrtle Beach, Mr. DeBonis actually thought he might get another hole in one.
“No hole in one,” he said.
Three in three days was enough.
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter: @gerrydulac.