Sure, it was his fifth time, but Freddie Montiel isn’t likely to soon forget the hole-in-one he hit April 16 at Canoa Ranch Golf Club.
That just doesn’t happen a lot to golfers at 87.
Montiel was with the Bushwackers League, a group that’s been getting together for more than 20 years to play nine holes a couple of times a week. He helped start the league in 2000.
He was on the fifth hole, going last in the foursome. Jimmy Moreno and John Stichter missed the green. Frank Gradillas landed about five feet from the pin.
Moreno takes the story from here: “Then Freddie comes up. Frank tells me, ‘Watch him, he’s going to hit it and he’s going to put it on the green.’”
Montiel stepped up and took his best swing toward the hole about 120 yards away.
There’s a wash in front of the green on the fifth hole. The ball skipped in the wash, hit a slight hill in front of the green and bounced on top of the hill, Moreno said. Then it kept going.
“I said, ‘Frank, that ball’s going toward the pin. I think he’s gong to beat you. Then it disappears and I say, ‘Frank, I think he made a hole-in-one. And Frank says, ‘Nooo…’”
When Stichter told Montiel it looked like he’d done it, his reaction was, “Oh, you’re crazy.”
“To see him gain that fifth one, he didn’t know what happen. He couldn’t see that far,” Stichter said. “It’s been long time coming.”
It sure has; by Montiel’s recollection, he hadn’t hit a hole-in-one in about 60 years. All four of his previous aces were in California, where he lived “before moving to Green Valley before it was Green Valley.” That would be pre-1964.
Crazy as it was, everybody cheered.
“He’s 87 years old. I was so excited!” said Moreno, who has only ever seen one other hole-in-one — his own, about 10 years ago at Haven.
Montiel added a birdie to his round.
“I love golf and it’s my life,” he said. So is making sure the fun has a purpose — the Friday players in the league regularly donate money to charities.
Moreno said he was ecstatic for his friend.
“It was sweet,” he said. “It’s one of those things you’ll always remember.”