Sam Jones knew it was a rare pretty day in December with tolerable temperatures. He took advantage and headed to the links at Windtree Golf Course in Mt. Juliet. What he didn't realize when he took to the course with some buddies was he would pull off something so rare it might go into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Jones, 76, astounded himself and witnesses when he managed to hit two holes-in-one in one round of golf that pretty winter day. The odds of accomplishing this are 67 million to one.
He was playing with his friends Robert Abney and Milton Frazier and they came to the 120-yard fifth hole. He was using a 4-iron.
"I hit the ball solid and straight, at first I thought it would be a little short, but it went into the hole," he said. "I don't see so well, but my friends said it went in. And I heard some whoops from a group teeing off at the next hole when they saw it go in."
He said he was "thrilled" and thought it a little odd he made a hole-in-one.
Things got much more exciting when he came to the 125-yard 11th hole.
He got out his lucky iron again, along with his prerequisite yellow golf ball, swung and was dumbfounded when the ball managed to find its way to the bottom of the cup.
"Again, I couldn't see that far, but there were six witnesses to the fact," he said while laughing. "I could hardly believe it. It was a great moment."
In 35 years of golfing – mostly year round – he's only had a few holes-in-one and never even dreamed he'd ace it twice in one round.
Corey Wills is the assistant manager of Windtree Golf Course.
"We've had some hole-in-ones, but they are rare," he said. "But two in one round is really remarkable! There was lots of yelling and screaming. I've never had one and I've been golfing for 20 years."
Jones said that what makes the feat even more satisfying is the fact he started playing golf in a back brace back in the day. He suffered degenerative disc disease, has a pace maker, battled cancer and has arthritis of the spine.
"I was told I would have a life of misery and pain," he said.
He had a state-of-the-art operation in 1996 and things have improved health-wise.
"I'm blessed to be out there," he said.
He speaks often about blessings. He's a "gospel preacher" when he's not hitting the links.
His accomplishment was acknowledged by the Tennessee Golf Association with two certificates.
"One for each hole-in-one, " he said.
And, a golf ball maker sent him a box of his favorite yellow balls.
He said he contacted Guinness Book of World Records to see if he might make the grade.
"As the oldest person to hit two holes-in-one," he said.
And while he said he beat unbelievable odds that winter day last month and was thrilled, "nothing is more rewarding than to win someone's soul to the Lord."
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 444-3952 ex. 46 or at firstname.lastname@example.org