The 15th hole at Legacy Golf Resort near Phoenix, Ariz., is a pleasant shortish par 3 over a pond. But this isn't about how the bunkers lap at the edges of the green like tan waves. This is about a sign posted in a shady spot to the right of the tee boxes. This is what it says:
March 6, 1947 - August 23, 2020
Welcome to my hole! It was 10:08 am on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 when I reached this beautiful par 3 that you are about to play. It was a cold Phoenix winter day. The sky was gray and overcast. I tested the wind with some grass, it was blowing from east to west. The flag was in the middle of the green, 120 yards, slightly uphill. I pulled out my Ping G410 6-hybrid and took a smooth three-quarter swing. My ball elevated into the air with a slight left to right fade, it landed on the green, took a hop forward, checked up...and then rolled straight into the bottom of the cup. My first and only Hole In One! Enjoy this hole and the Legacy as much as I did.
"Golf is my life"
I was taken aback. Here, in the midst of one of the most vibrant and lively golf destinations in the world, where countless golfers come to get away for a while and renew that essential feeling of being alive, was a reminder of our ultimate transience.
The sense that this was a moribund object took a couple seconds to retreat. The sign is a memorial, but it's also a call to gratitude. I never met Ronnie, but on a couple occasions I have been lucky to feel that unique electric rush that happens when a golf ball disappears from view, with no doubt that it's lying in the cup.
Even though it took Ronnie almost 73 years to make his ace, and even though he did not live to celebrate its anniversary, this unexpected monument to his joy helps pass the good feelings forward by reminding us that we will not be able to feel them forever. That spirit of camaraderie is something all golfers know well. Cheers, amigo.