Livonia — For The Detroit News/Golf Association of Michigan Hole In One Contest, Whispering Willows shuts down the 130-yard par-3 seventh hole for the day, which was no small feat Monday — given it was a surprisingly busy Monday, with a golf outing and a high-school match, plus the typical flow of walk-in traffic.
No sweat for Paul Worley, the head pro at the course who loves having the event.
"Oh, it's important," Worley said of the GAM. "We are members of the GAM and they do a lot for golf. We've held some of their tournaments before, the qualifiers."
The history of the contest goes back several decades, but took several years off in the early 2000s before GAM folks sparked the idea of bringing it back.
They called Whispering Willows, which seemed the perfect fit, with No. 7 located just off the parking lot, making for very convenient access for all the competitors just stopping in to take their two to four shots.
But, boy, does the No. 7 green take a pounding.
"Yeah, it takes quite a beating," Worley said. "But we fix them (the ball marks) as they're made, so it's not too bad. And probably three weeks from now, they're going to be aerating the greens anyway. Probably more of a beating would be the tee box."
Chips & divots
More than 200 golfers participated in the Hole In One Contest, with most donating $5 for an extra two shots (for a total of four) — the donations going to Folds of Honor. The charity, which provides scholarships to children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members, raised more than $1,000 on Monday.
... A most impressive performance came from Barry Drangin, who hadn't played a single round of golf all year, showed up in dress shoes and a button-down shirt and with no golf glove, and yet still hit his second ball to 15 feet, 8 inches. Drangin, 66, got his first and only hole-in-one in 1965.
... Golfers of all ages participated, from age 10 — Colin Maxworthy, the final participant of the day — to age 92 — Robert McFarlane, who ,at age 92, put his best shot pretty darn close, at 10 feet, 1 inch from the flag.
... This was the 13th year of the Hole In One Contest at Whispering Willows, and despite more than 10,000 shots since then, there has yet to be a hole-in-one.
Hole In One Contest winners
►Overall: Michael Chaben, 72 — 10 inches
►Men: Robert Janik, 53 — 3 feet, 8 inches
►Senior men (55+): William Maffesoli, 64 — 1 foot, 9 inch
►Super senior men (80+): John Thomas, 80 — 2 feet, 8 inches
►Women: Sandra Szuba, 41 — 21 feet, 10 inches
►Senior women (55+): Martha MacIntosh, 82 — 2 feet, 1 inch
►Junior: Grace Boczar, 15 — 21 feet, 8 inches