Rise in great shots at Ballantrae

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

Pitching a perfect game in baseball, winning the Triple Crown in horse racing, having an undefeated season in professional football and shooting a hole-in-one in golf are some of the hardest feats to accomplish in sports.

Although if a recent trend at Ballantrae persists, you may have to take the last one off the list.

The Pelham-run golf course is seeing an influx of players sinking the ball on their first shot, according to Head Golf Professional Hal Brown.

“This week we’ve had three in three days,” he said on May 29. “We’ve had quite a few out here.”

Three in a week’s time is an amazing feat in and of itself, but the trend goes farther back than that. Since Alton Ray sank the first on April 25, there have been eight holes in one. Those who have accomplished the feat include Jeff Davies, Stuart Benjamin, Ted Zernhelt, Bill Atchley, Pam Baggett and Don Burford.

Keep in mind that Ballantrae isn’t an easy course, nor golf an easy game. So why have there been so many as of late?

I think the skill of the player (adds into it), but it’s a player-friendly course,” said Brown. “It’s a great layout. It’s just a variety of holes (not just one in particular). We have several different par threes.”

Still, as often as it seems the holes in one are happening, Brown was careful to point out that it is still quite an accomplishment.

“It’s a challenging game,” he said. “Some people go a lifetime without one. It’s a challenging feat.”