Matt Barth played only one season of golf at Catonsville, but he ended it in thrilling fashion with the senior making a hole-in-one in his final competition.
His dad, Wayne, watched the ace on the par-3 fifth hole at Diamond Ridge go in from 183 yards at the Baltimore County championships on Oct. 17, but Matt didn’t see the ball drop, just like his grandfather, Bob.
“It was pretty amazing,” Wayne said. “I told my son he had something in common with his grandfather, both of them had hole-in-ones and neither of them saw it go in. It probably landed about 10 feet short and it rolled up toward the hole, and it looked like it was going in and I actually thought for a second it missed, and then it went past and then it disappeared.”
Matt didn’t soak up the moment until he saw a teammate’s reaction.
“It was just raining so I couldn’t really see out of my glasses,” said Matt, who handed his glasses to his dad to wipe dry while he hit the shot. “My teammate [Harrison Dean] screamed that it went in and then everyone else said that it went in. It was crazy. The next drive didn’t go so great, but it was just awesome, the first hole-in-one.”
The pouring rain had slowed to a light drizzle before he hit the shot, but the heavens opened up on the next hole.
“In the middle of the fairway on the sixth hole, it started raining again and it poured all the way through and he finished on the seventh hole, so he was soaked when he got finished,” Wayne said.
Barth started the tournament on the eighth hole and shot a 39 on the front nine and 51 on the back nine.
All of Catonsville coach Bill Nelson’s golfers, including Dean, Jaden Cudzilo, Matt Roseboom and Lucas Williams, had a more difficult time on the back nine.
“The problem with that was we didn’t get a chance to play the back nine during any of our matches or practice rounds,” said Nelson who was on another hole when Barth made his ace. “Supposedly, the greens were lightning fast, which was unusual. The kids had a hard time putting.”
Fortunately, Barth didn’t have to putt on the fifth hole and Nelson thinks the hole-in-one may have been a historic one.
“During the county championship, it might be the first one ever,” Nelson said. “Coaches that have been doing this for the last 15 years have never heard of anybody doing it.”
The 39 for nine holes was the second of the season for Barth who also shot a 39 at the district tournament.
The feat capped a golf season that almost didn’t happen for Barth, who was a freshman for the Manchester Valley golf team in 2019, but didn’t play in any matches. He didn’t play in 2020 because of COVID restrictions and his family was moving around the country in 2021. He transferred to Catonsville from Washington state before the fall season.
“We had a rough last year, so it was perfect that we got back here in time to play golf for Catonsville and he just loved every minute of it, so it was a great way to end the year for him,” Wayne said.
“I’ve just been playing a lot more since freshman year, I got to play a lot of cool courses since we moved obviously around a lot,” said Matt, who has played courses in Indiana, Arizona and Oregon.
“We really got close with all the moves we did and he started to really get into the game of golf,” Wayne said. “His handicap was 28 and in about six months he lowered it down to about a 16 or a 17, so he really started to love it.”
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Barth fit right in for the Comets, finishing in the top three in every match for the 3-3 squad.
“I think his strength is his mental approach to the game, he doesn’t let anything bother him,” Nelson said. “He’s always even keel, great attitude at all times. He’s just consistent. He keeps the ball in play.”
Barth doesn’t plan to play golf in college, but he will continue to share hole-in-one stories with his family. In addition to his grandfather and father, his uncle, Kevin, is in the elite club after making three aces in a six-week span at the Rolling Road Golf Club.
His older brother, Andrew, a junior at York College, is ready to join that elite group.
“He has not had a hole-in-one and he was not happy to hear that his brother got one before him,” Wayne said. “He said he’s the only one left.”
If dad has his way, he will have plenty of opportunities.
“Our favorite days are me, him and my other son and my dad playing golf, we just absolutely love it,” Wayne said.