Earl Phillips of Richmond, KY Shoots a Hole-in-One

Earl Phillips of Richmond, KY Shoots Hole-in-One
Earl Phillips [right] with the author

Shooting a hole-in-one is probably not national news, I know, but I still want to congratulate my new friend, Earl Phillips for doing just that on Monday, November 20, 2012.

When my dad, Al Varney, and I went to shoot a round of golf at Gibson Bay Golf Course last Monday, I had no idea what I was about to witness.

As we were getting set to start our round, local Richmond, KY golfer Earl Phillips offered to join our party and give us the inside scoop on the course. We couldn’t decline such a generous offer (Lord knows I need all the help I can get when it comes to golfing—even duffers are embarrassed by me) and it turned out to be a wise decision. Besides being part of a great round of golf, I also witnessed my first ever hole-in-one, which isn’t bad considering I can count the number of rounds I’ve golfed on both hands.

At 70, Earl Phillips Hits 3rd Career Ace

After the round I asked Phillips if he woke up with any premonitions about his golf game that day and he said no, but on the front nine he did bring up the subject of acing a hole. He admitted he’d had two previous holes-in-one, the last being in 2008, and that he wouldn’t mind bagging another.

So there we were on the 12th hole, my dad and I having teed off and hit the green. Phillips steps up, takes a practice swing and proceeds to drop a beautiful shot that hits the front of the green. We watch it roll and then it seems to disappear out of our sight line. We figured it just rolled into a drop in the green.

Earl Phillips' Hole-in-One Scorecard
Hole-in-One Scorecard

As we pull up to the hole, the greenskeeper happens to be standing near the next tee box working on the sprinkler system and he says he heard a ball hit the pin on our hole. We immediately jump out of our carts and run to the hole. Sure enough, there’s Phillips’ ball nestled between the pin and the cup. As I stand slack-jawed, Phillips—ever the pragmatist—simply bends over, picks up the ball and says, “Guess I’ll need you to sign the scorecard so they can put it in the paper.” Trying to be as cool as Phillips, I restrained myself from putting my putter between my legs and riding the bull like a crazed Happy Gilmore.

I suppose if you’ve done it before, it doesn’t seem like quite the big deal that it is, but I was sure excited to witness such an amazing feat. Phillips, on the other hand, seemed more excited about the eagle than the ace. And as it turned out, rightly so.

The Upshot

Phillips’ hole-in-one turned out to be paramount to the score of his round. As we tallied our totals after the 18th hole, Phillips noted that he shot a 72 (at 70 years old, mind you). It was the best score he’s ever had.

I immediately offered for Phillips to pay for us to come down and golf with him any time. Turns out, that was an offer he could refuse. Still, I had to share his amazing round with you all and especially his hole-in-one. Congrats Earl—as my old boss Paul Harvey used to say, “I’m happy to bask in your reflected glow.” Any duffer would be.

—Ryan Varney

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