September 30, 2004

Local Golfer Wins Free Trip To Florida With Hole In One

Whats harder to come by, a free trip to Florida or a hole in one in golf? On September 24th one Memphis golfer captured both.

Donnie Middleton recorded a hole in one on the par-three hole #3 at Timber Ridge Golf Course in Memphis. He was playing a quick nine over his lunch hour. Fortunately he grouped up with Bob and Mary Darr of Milton, IA, who witnessed his tee shot find the hole.

I hit what I thought was a really nice tee-shot, Middleton said. The ball hit just right of the flag and bounced left. I lost sight of the ball and figured it was just behind the flag stick. I was thinking to myself as I drove down to the hole, this is going to be an easy birdie putt.

It proved to be a much easier putt than he had first anticipated, as halfway to the hole he and his partners finally realized that Middleton had scored a hole in one.

Not only did the shot off Middletons nine iron earn him his first career ace, it will also be sending the golfer on a three-day, two-night trip to the World Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL.

Donnie won the trip courtesy of his Hole in One Travel Card, a promotion for The First Tee. The not-for-profit organization benefiting youth, provides affordable access to golf and strives to instill in young people life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and respect. The idea is to offer opportunities for improvement in the quality of life and create a platform where children can increase their potential for success.

One of the main fundraisers for the group is the annual sale of the hole in one cards that offers any holder a free trip for recording a hole in one. The card costs $20 and entitles the holder to one free trip for recording a hole in one anytime during the one-year membership.

Middletons prize package will include airfare to and from Florida, airport transfer, lodging and meals as well as two greens fees at North Hampton Golf Course.

But he was so excited about the hole in one he forgot about the trip. After finishing up the third hole and starting on hole #4 he spotted Bob Schultz working on a golf cart at the clubhouse. He drove up to his friend and gave him a high-five, informing him of his success.

Schultz, the local representative for The Great River Chapter of The First Tee, then reminded Middleton of his Hole in One Travel Card, and the news added to the celebration as Middleton then realized he was headed to Florida.

My day just kept getting better, Middleton said. I started out with a double bogie on #1 and then pared #2 before the shot. Then I bumped into Bob after that and he reminded me of the trip.

The golfer admitted that all of the excitement got to him. Despite the eagle on the third hole, Middleton still finished the round with a score of 41, seven over par.

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