Retired chief sinks hole-in-one at Apache Mesa

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sanjay Allen
  • 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Also known as an ace, a hole-in-one is one of those rare feats you seldom come by in sports. The golf rarity can be filed up there with a perfect game in baseball, or even a black-letter initial on an aircraft if you want to bring it into the context of the Air Force. The feat takes a mix of skill, luck and a few golf gods smiling down on you. Many golfers will play their entire lives and never see one -- let alone be lucky enough to get one themselves.

Jim Morse, a retired chief master sergeant, reveled in the feat Aug. 13. He successfully accomplished his first hole-in-one when he teed off on the 15th hole at Apache Mesa Golf Course here after more than 40 years on the greens.

Pat Mahoney, Apache Mesa manager, who has been a golf course manager for 18 years and playing the game for more than 40, says they're pretty rare.

"It doesn't happen very often," he reiterated. "I've only seen four or five."

The storm clouds were rolling in on a gusty day, when Morse and a friend were looking to prepare for the base golf championship the following weekend by trying to get in a round before the monsoon rains began. Morse said the wind must have been blowing 20 mph when they hit the course.

Although they were racing to get the round in, Morse was able to keep up with par on the course when they had to pause 45 minutes due to lightning heading into the back nine.

After the delay, he had a hard time picking his shot back up and bogeyed and double bogeyed on a few holes leading up to the 15th.

He walked into the box with his 4-iron and stood 170 yards away from the par 3 hole that juts off to the right just a hair from the tee box. He was merely hoping to get a good shot off into the wind and make it onto the green.

"I wasn't thinking of a hole-in-one," said the former 49th Operations Group superintendent. "I was trying to hit the ball a little bit to the right of the hole.

"I was hitting into a 20 mph steady wind. I was probably more lucky than I was good," he said chuckling.

When he hit the ball, the wind got a hold of it a little and carried it toward the green. At that point he started to think it was going to be a pretty good shot. And sure enough, the ball came down, took a bounce on the green and disappeared.

"I said that is going to be a pretty good shot if I have the right distance," he said.

The self-proclaimed "recreational golfer" celebrated briefly with his regular golf buddy then pressed on to the next hole. They of course had their customary "beverage" celebration at the pro shop -- where the person who makes the shot buys the people he's playing with a drink -- when they finished the round.

The former aircraft maintainer can now add his story to the hole-in-one lore when he tells it to friends, fellow golfers and grandchildren. Surely the story may grow stronger winds and other insurmountable odds, but one thing will stay true -- Jim Morse made a hole-in-one Aug. 13 at Apache Mesa Golf Course.