When he hit his first-ever hole-in-one at Hayfields Country Club in Hunt Valley on Wednesday, Michael Thompson was naturally thrilled. When he aced a hole at Massanutten Resort in Massanutten, Va., within a 24-hour span, he was almost speechless.
“It was 19 hours,” the 40-year-old IT consultant from Towson said. “A lot of guys wait 19 years for a hole-in-one. It’s just wacky.”
Thompson used a Titleist Vokey 54-degree wedge from 117 yards on Hole No. 11 at Hayfields at about 7:30 p.m. while competing in the club’s weekly twilight men’s league. The next day, he pulled out a Vokey 58-degree wedge from 105 yards on Hole No. 15 on Massanutten’s Woodstone Meadows course at about 2:30 p.m.
Both – via Titleist Pro V1x balls that he has kept along with the scorecards from both golf courses – were special for Thompson, who had come close to a hole-in-one on several occasions but had never pulled off the feat until Wednesday. Thursday’s ace meant more because he played with his father, Rob, and family friend Hunt Herrigel of Townsend, Del.
“The fact that I got one without my dad and then one with my dad was kind of cool,” Thompson said. “He’s the one who introduced me to the sport. It was more shocking than meaningful, but it was still really cool.”
The odds of an average golfer sinking a hole-in-one are 12,000-1, according to the National Hole-In-One Registry. One has a better chance of bowling a perfect 300 game (11,500-1).
The registry also calculated that the likelihood of completing two aces in the same round are 67 million to 1. And according to the registry, Chris Gilley of Costa Mesa, Calif., made two holes-in-one on the same hole in a 36-hole tournament on June 10, 2013.
But Drew Mitchell, with the American Hole ’n One in Georgia, said there are no numbers associated with two holes-in-one in different rounds on different courses within a 24-hour span.
“I’m not aware of that ever happening,” said Mitchell, whose organization is not associated with the National Hole-In-One Registry.
Thompson is realistic enough to understand that what he accomplished borders on the edge of absurdity.
“There is absolutely a part of me from a statistician’s point of view that knows that it may never happen again,” he said. “But I thought that Thursday morning, too.”
Thompson said the notion of a hole-in-one Wednesday did not creep his mind until his initial shot, which landed 10 feet past the hole, and began to spin backward into the cup. While Thompson just watched in silence, his playing partner, Matthew Waylett, loudly implored the ball to find the hole.
“I did talk it into the hole,” said Waylett, a 52-year-old title company owner from Monkton who has not aced a hole despite playing since he was a child. “So I get a little credit for that.”
“When it went in, somebody yelled, ‘We’re drinking for free!’ ” Thompson said. “Word must have spread like wildfire because by the time I got back to the clubhouse, everybody was ready to go.”
After a raucous celebration and six hours of sleep, Thompson drove to Virginia to meet his father and his friend for an 11 a.m. tee time. After regaling both of them with his account of his first hole-in-one, his first shot on No. 15 landed short of the cup, hopped past the flag and then backed into the hole.
“It was going right at it, and my dad looks up in the air and goes, ‘There goes another one,’ ” Thompson said. “Even though he was joking, it went in, and we just stared at each other. It was kind of unreal.”
The elder Thompson, who lives in New Bern, N.C., said he could tell by the ball’s trajectory that it had a chance of going in.
“He hit it so high that it came straight down and didn’t have to roll very far,” said Rob Thompson, 76, who has yet to ace a hole. “I just shook my head. I couldn’t believe it.”
When Michael Thompson called Waylett to inform him what happened Thursday, the latter said, “I said, ‘Holy cow! Go get a lottery ticket. You’re going to win.’ ”
Thompson joked the holes-in-one have helped him address putting woes that have recently plagued his game. And friends have been teasing him that the aces were possible only because the distances between the tee box and greens were short and aided by the fact that both Par 3s were downhill holes.
But Thompson has a rebuke prepared for them – and anyone else.
“This is what I tell them,” he said. “They were short ones, but they were still ones. That seems to quell them.”