Cinderella Stories

We asked you, our readers, to share your very best tales of yore (and “Fore!”), in the second Golftime Magazine Great Golf Story Contest. And hoo boy, did you all come through with some doozies.

Readers offer truly legendary entries in the Great Golf Story Contest

If you play this maddening, magical game long enough, you’ll collect your share of spectacular, silly, or downright sentimental stories about the family, friends and fond memories we make along the way.

We asked you, our readers, to share your very best tales of yore (and “Fore!”), in the second Golftime Magazine Great Golf Story Contest. And hoo boy, did you all come through with some doozies.

We have stories on surviving severe storms at St Andrews, rubbing elbows with greatness (Mr. Arnold Palmer himself ), and even elbowing one of golf’s bad boys! No more spoilers here, though, read on and en-joy them yourself!

Congratulations go out to Jerome Koncel, of Schaumburg, Illinois, who won the grand prize drawing with a trip to the incredible Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. Congratulations, Jerome!

For more on Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, see our feature here.

A Rematch Worth Waiting For
I was playing the Match Play Championship at Cog Hill in 1987, and I was playing Van Salmans, the same person I did in 1986, when I lost 7-6. When I was returning to the clubhouse after the 1986 defeat, I uttered to myself, “This will never happen again. I will not lose by this score ever again.”

The 1987 match had us even after five holes, with similar scores of three pars, one bogey, and one birdie. The sixth hole is a 200-yard, par 3, with traps in front and on both sides of a multi-tiered green. Van went first, hitting a great shot right at the pin; in fact it hit the pin and bounded straight right into a trap.
I hit my shot and it landed just above the front trap but bounced straight up and landed in the fringe, instead of rolling back into the trap. A good bounce for me, a terrible result on a great shot for my opponent, and I went on to win the hole with a par.

Our match went back and forth for the next 10 holes, and I was one up going to the 18th hole.

We both hit drives into a sandtrap on the left side of the fairway, about 180 yards from the green. I hit first and my ball hit just left of the green and bounded into the water. Van hit his shot into the same water. We both chipped up and I had a 7 foot putt for bogey to win the match and Van had a 6-footer. Mine missed on the high side, while Van stroked his putt, which hit the cup and careened to the right.

He congratulated me and said, “You’ve really improved a lot!” I told him, “Thanks for a great match and those kind words.” Inside my brain, I said to myself, “It’s all because of how good you played last year.”

We went into the bar, had a few beers, and Van and I became good golfing buddies. And I became a true believer in that old golf adage, “Never give up.” It also helps to be lucky like on the sixth hole, when you get a good break and your opponent gets a bad one.
Jerome Koncel
Schaumberg, IL

Arnie & The Good Old Days
I won four lottery tickets for Wednesday’s practice round for the 2012 Masters. The immediate question was, who else should I invite besides my two golf-crazed sons (Chris and Tyler) to fill out our foursome to Augusta? Rightly so, we invited Chris’s future father-in-law, Jack Harris (also a serious golf nut and just like the rest of us, he always dreamed of going to The Masters). It also gave him and my son time to bond together. As it turned out, that trip was everything we could have dreamed about and more. It was the trip of a lifetime.
We had a wonderful time touring the course, watching the pros up close, eating pimento cheese sandwiches and buying Masters merchandise for everyone back home.

Then finally, we took in the par-3 contest. We, along with every other patron in attendance, wanted to follow the threesome of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Unfortunately, when we got to the first hole, both the tee box and the first green were surrounded by patrons 10 deep. So my sons and Mr. Harris had to settle for a spot next to the ropes at the bottom of the hill in front of the first green, which is perched at the top of a little hill. Both Gary and Jack’s opening tee shots were solid hits that ended up close to the pin. However, when Arnie hit, his tee ball came up a little short of the green and rolled down the hill and ended up right between my oldest son Chris’s feet, behind the ropes. Arnie walked up to Chris, placed his hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Why didn’t you kick my ball back in the fairway,” Arnie asked. “You know, they used to do that in the old days.”

My son didn’t know what to say or do. Then Arnie flashed a big smile, winked, and said, “But these aren’t the old days, are they?”

Arnie chipped his ball onto the green, walked up and putted out.

Mr. Harris, who was a proud member of “Arnie’s Army” back in the 60s and 70s, was standing right there and saw the whole thing unfold. To say he was over the moon was an understatement. We knew right then and there Chris would be welcomed into the Harris family with open arms, and we’ve told the story of that trips countless times since then.
John Gray
Rockford, Michigan

The Heavy Stuff Won’t Come Down For Awhile …
It had been a lifelong dream to play at St Andrews with my two sons, Jason (then 28) and Ryan (then 24), when we made our maiden voyage to Scotland in July 2006. I was 57, an elementary school principal and recovering from prostate cancer. It was a trip of a lifetime for our entire family, including my wife, Lynn, and our two sons who were both about to start new jobs.

We arrived at the New Course on a cloudy day for our 10 a.m. tee time. I was playing well and finished the front nine with two birdies for a 38. Just as we teed off from No. 10, it started to rain. Now, we had come pre- pared, so we donned our rain gear to battle our way through the elements. Rain is one thing, but then came the lightning. Ryan is 6-feet-6, and he looked at me and quipped, “That lightning is so close the hair on the back of my head just stood up!”

Another bolt hit even closer and the boys said in unison, “I think we need to head in!” I turned to them and replied, “Look, there is no shelter between here and the clubhouse. If we play in or walk in, we will still be in the lightning!” I implored them to play out this dream and if any of us died, their mother would have one heck of a story to tell at the funeral. Then I told them the most important part. I had a great chance of breaking 80 at St Andrews! Happily we made it through an uneventful back 9. With the rain pounding down, I three-putted the 18th for 80! Lynn greeted us at the car. “I knew you would stay out there!” she said.

As usual, she was right.
Scott Brunswick
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Tin Cup Moment
We were playing our annual sisters golf week- end and one day we played at The Bog. There was a short par 4 with a creek running across the approach to the green. My sister, who is about a 10 handicap, was about 15 yards from the pin on the other side of the water. She hit one and it hit a rock and came back. She hit it again and it went in the water. She hit another one and it spun back into the water. We were all on the green already thinking she’d be on no problem. We were laughing so hard we were rolling on the ground. It wasn’t like her at all. She FINALLY made it on the green and finished the hole. I can’t remember her score or if she even put one down. When I play that hole I always think about her.
Mary Schingen
Mount Calvary, Wisconsin

A Price-Less Pairing
It was 2016, and I have two Masters tickets for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. We decide to play the UGA course in Athens on the off day and the starter tells us we are paired with a guy named “Nick Price.” No, not that Nick Price, but this guy and his buddy are from Scotland over for a three-week golfing trip and Masters package they won overseas. By the end of the round, we were already connected on social media. We stayed in touch and when my wife and I, decided to go to Scotland along with another couple, Nick offered to pick us up from the airport in Edinburgh. Mind you, I have only met this guy for four hours on the course at this point.

Well, he and his wife meet us, and tour us around Edinburgh for the day. At the end of the day they ask us what our plans are for tomorrow. We tell him we are going to the Edinburgh castle and he says that he knows the commander and he’ll get us a behind-the-scenes tour. Again, another day of touring Edinburgh and they ask what we are do- ing tomorrow. We tell him we are renting a car and driving toward the Isle of Skye. He tells us he knows some awesome spots and offers to drive his car with us. So they spend the whole day driving with us up to Skye and we part ways.
Fast forward, we come home from Scotland and the trip emboldened me to plan our first golf trip over there. After the pandemic, we finally head over last year and we met up again twice with Nick for dinner — with each time him coming over an hour each way to meet up with us.

It’s safe to say this one pairing in Georgia in 2016 made lifelong friends in Scotland of not only Nick but his entire family.
John Stravinski
Windsor, Wisconsin

What Did You Just Call Me?
My friend and I were at the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in 2012. We were getting a beer at the concession stand off the 12th hole when we heard a ball bounce off the top of the tent. Everyone ran to the ball to watch the next shot being played. We got there first and had to hold our ground as the crowd pushed against us to get a spot to watch. Some guy shoved me in the back to get past me and I gave him an elbow to the chest to hold my spot. To my surprise, it was Sergio Garcia, who yelled at me in his native Spanish, “Tu perra!” (you b*tch). Sergio proceeded to step up and carve a low, drawing 4-iron 200-plus yards through and around the trees right on the green. He turned and looked at me with a big grin on his face and I high-fived him. ”Nice shot, perra!” I said. To this day every time me and my buddy see Sergio on TV, we yell, “TU PERRA!”
Jason Rieger
Elgin, Illinois


Tough Crowd!

I was dating my wife for about a year when I took her golfing. She had never been golfing and was just walking along with me. We got to a par 3. I had never had a hole-in-one. When I hit the shot and it went in the hole I was jumping up and down and hooting and hollering. She looked at me and said, “What are you doing?” I responded – “I got a hole-in-one.” She quickly responded, “Isn’t that what you are supposed to do?” I picked up my bag and said, “You’re right, honey,” and went onto the next hole. The thrill of my first (and only) hole-in-one was gone in an instant!
Steve Feyen
East Dubuque, Illinois


Yes, There Is Golf In Heaven, But …
Two old guys, Bill and Bert, are sitting on a Milwaukee park bench feeding pigeons and talking about golf just like they did every day. Bill turns to Bert and says, “Do you think there’s golf in heaven?”

Bert thinks a minute and says, “Don’t know, Bill. But let’s make a deal: If I die first, I’ll come back and tell you, and if you die first, you come back and tell me if there is golf in heaven.”

They shake on it and, sadly, a few months later Bill passes on.

One day soon afterward, Bert is sitting there feeding the pigeons, alone, when he hears a voice whisper, “Bert… Bert….”

Bert responds, “Bill! Is that you?”

“At your service, Bert,” whispers the spirit of Bill.

Bert asks, “So, my friend, is there golf in heaven?”

Bill says, “I got good news and I got bad news for you, Bert.”

“I’ll have the good news first,” says Bert.

Bill says, “There is golf in heaven.”

Bert says, “That’s great! What news could be bad enough to ruin that!?”

Bill says, “Your tee time is on Friday.”
Tom Castagnozzi
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Never Judge A Book …
Roughly 25 golf seasons ago I was a typical mid-20s, fun-having, know-everything, golfer. My three buddies and I had entered a local scramble and were looking forward to having a great time while (hopefully) winning some prizes. Shortly before our tee time, we were notified that one of our team members would not be making it. He claimed “car trouble,” but “hangover” was the more likely culprit.

Soon after this revelation, the local pro notified us that he had a single that would love to join our group. We agreed with hesitation, and were soon introduced to Lois. Lois was a small, quiet, gray-haired lady of about 70 years of age. The three of us immediately shared stares that begged the question, “Are you kidding me?” but had enough good manners not to make a stink. Our foursome for the day was complete.

After two quiet and unremarkable holes, we stepped up to the third tee, a short down- hill par 3. After three unremarkable shots by the men, Lois walked up to her tee. She pulled out driver, executed her notably consistent swing, and sent her ball airborne. The ball traveled about 120 yards in the air, took a couple nice hops, caught some green, and gently rolled straight into the cup.

The ensuing celebration is etched in my memory to this day; screams, hugs, beers, the whole works. It was Lois’s first ace, and we all relished in it.

After that moment, the round took an incredible, joyful turn. The ice was broken, and everyone’s best side was on display. Lois proved to be an energetic and hilarious person. We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and shouting for every shot, good or bad. We may have begun the day hoping for one thing and ended with another, but we all walked off the course feeling great about the round we played.

THIS is why we all love golf so much.
Nick O’Malley
Plymouth, Wisconsin

The Tale of the Red-Tailed Hawk
A few years back, my foursome was playing the fourth hole at the local club.

We all hit our drives on the 540-yard, par 5. As we were walking to our balls, a majestic red-tailed hawk flew down near my friend’s ball. He then proceeded to pick up his ball, fly up three or four feet, and drop it again and again! We were dumbfounded! As we got closer to his ball, the hawk grabbed it and started flying down the fairway and veered off 50 yards to the left of the green and land- ed in a large pine tree!

There, the hawk finally dropped the ball. Myself and the other two golfers decided he must “play it where it lies,” much to his dismay! He had a terrible lie and was in a grove of trees.

Even though he was lying only one, he proceeded to make a bogey, much to our laughter! Never before or again have I seen such an encounter with any wildlife!
Bob Forberg
Muskegon, Michigan

The Hard Way & The Easy Way
The date was July 27, 1973. I was playing with my dad, Moose Krueger and my brother-in- law Steve Stahlman at Lakeside golf course in Pewaukee, Wisconson. A nine-hole course.

The first and ninth hole played downhill and holes two through eight on a highland which required you to walk up a huge hill to get from hole No. 1 to hole No. 2. My dad did not like walking up that hill so when we were going to play 18 holes we would play two balls on the first and ninth holes and then walk holes two through eight twice.

The first tee was right beneath the clubhouse bar, which was full that day with the windows open. I was a baseball player and played very little golf. I did not even own a full set. The first hole (112 yards) splayed downhill and there was a hill behind the green that went up to the ninth tee box with a huge tree halfway up the hill.

I teed off first and sculled a 9-iron over the green that hit the tree four times, bounced on the green and went in the hole. (If it wouldn’t have hit the tree it might have hit golfers who were teeing off on No. 9.) The patrons in the bar were all heckling me for being so lucky.

Being a cocky young man, I turned to them and said, “That’s the hard way, I’m about to hit my second tee ball and I’ll show you the easy way.”

I hit the same 9-iron but with a much smoother swing. My ball landed on the green, rolled up and hit the pin, leaving me a 2-inch putt for birdie. The patrons stopped laughing and they all gave me a standing ovation.

I’ve had two hole-in-ones since that date, but neither was as weird as the first one!
John Krueger
Hartland, Wisconsin