The odds of an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one are roughly 12,500 to 1.
Those odds don’t bother Marana resident and avid golfer Ron Gilmore. The 83-year-old shot a hole-in-one, hitting a drive of 158 yards to the green of Hole 10 at Dorado Golf Course Monday, Feb. 3. Gilmore teed off using a 7 Wood to accomplish the feat.
“It was an uphill shot. You could see the flag but you couldn’t see the green,” he said. “I said ‘Boy that looks like it’s heading toward the flag. As a golfer, you’ll have a lot of shots that head toward the flag but you don’t get too excited.”
After Gilmore’s golf buddies, Arnie Snover and Ron Eisenhuth Sr., made their shots, the three men walked up to the green to see how close they were to the flag. Gilmore said he didn’t look into the cup for his ball at first due to how rare a hole-in-one is. The three linksmen searched around the surrounding area for Gilmore’s ball, but it was nowhere to be found.
“We all kind of converged on the hole at the same time and there was the ball,” Gilmore said. “Right in the bottom of the cup.”
Snover said he was amazed by Gilmore’s shot when they noticed the ball dropped into the cup. There were smiles aplenty as the friends gave each other high-fives.
“It was more surprising than anything. I thought (the ball) must have rolled off the back of the green and across the street,” Snover said. “We’re always happy for anybody who gets a hole-in-one because they’re so rare.”
Eisenhuth also said he was surprised by Gilmore’s hole-in-one. The three friends have been playing Dorado Golf Course nearly every Monday for the past decade. But this is the first time any of them has hit a hole-in-one while playing together.
“I thought he did pretty damn good, but I just wished I’d have seen it,” Eisenhuth said after pointing out his eyesight isn’t what it used to be. “I never saw it go in but we got up there, (the ball) was in the hole. I thought it was just amazing.”
This is Gilmore’s second hole-in-one in his 70-years of playing the sport. His first was at Vistoso Golf Course in Oro Valley 10 years prior. That shot was a much shorter distance at only 125 yards. Gilmore said after he made the hole-in-one at Vistoso, his excitement got the best of him and he played horrible the rest of the match.
This time around, Gilmore said he was most proud that he still played well at Dorado after the hole-in-one. He shot par throughout the back nine, but doubled bogeyed on the 18th hole and finished the course +7 over par.
“I was so in awe that I got the first hole-in-one I played lousy after that,” Gilmore said with a chuckle. “But the proudest thing in my mind is that I held it together this time.”
While he started hitting the links as a youngster, Gilmore said he didn’t play regularly until he retired from Delta Airlines in 2010. Now he plays at least three times a week on various courses in Southern Arizona.
“It’s the life,” he said. “I’m probably playing better today than the days I was when I was working and only getting out once a week. For an old guy, I’m hitting pretty good.”
When Gilmore, Snover and Eisenhuth meet on Mondays at Dorado they have a good time joking around with each other. Gilmore’s partners are a little younger than him, so when he shoots a good game he said he likes to fool with them.
“I like to kid them and say ‘Gee whiz, when I’m your age I hope I can hit the ball as far as you can’”, Gilmore said. “But they know I already hit it farther.”
Gilmore’s secret to playing good golf at his age is taking care of your body, he said. The 83-year-old said he has never smoked and has kept his weight around 155 pounds for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve stayed young... My doctor says I’m going to live to be 100,” Gilmore said. “I hope he is right.”
Hitting the century mark in age won’t stop Gilmore from hitting the links, he said. But if he starts shooting poorly, that’s when Gilmore may consider mothballing his golf bag.
“I think I’ll play golf until I consistently shoot over 100,” Gilmore said. “Then I’ll quit.”