Rare feat: Bemidji's Ivan Loeffler records two hole-in-ones in single day
During late September, with frost and snow soon to arrive, any excuse for a round of golf is justified.
Ivan Loeffler of Bemidji and Tony Doran of Pine River considered a free Saturday as a perfect excuse and they headed to Greenwood Golf Course east of Bemidji to see how many holes they could get in.
"We had a coupon and we bought the all-day pass," Loeffler said.
The decisions to play at Greenwood and to purchase an unlimited round both proved to be the correct choices.
During the first 18 holes Loeffler, who is 46 years old, hit a perfect 9-iron on No. 13, a 108-yard par-3, and was rewarded with an ace.
A few hours later Loeffler and Doran were playing No. 15 on their second 18-hole round. Once again Loeffler hit a straight tee ball, this time with an 8-iron on the 118-yard par-3.
They watched the ball head for the pin and disappear. Both men thought Loeffler overshot the green and that is where they looked for the ball. When they couldn't find the Titleist over the green, Doran went back to the cup.
In disbelief, Doran pulled the pin and the ball came out of the cup.
With two holes in one on the same day and nothing more to gain, the men decided to end their round and head to the clubhouse.
"Maybe we should have kept playing after the second hole-in-one, but I thought that the round wasn't going to get any better and I might as well end it right there," Loeffler said.
"This has never happened here before," said Mark Arndt, co-owner of Greenwood. "I've never heard of one golfer getting two aces on the same day. This is amazing."
"It was a memorable day," he admitted. "Tony and I decided to golf on Saturday and wanted to work on our short game so we decided to go to Greenwood. I guess it was the right decision."
Loeffler is an avid golfer, but in 1994 he had surgery that fused a wrist and he had to take some time away from the game.
Eventually he was able to return to the game, and eight years ago he recorded his first hole-in-one when he aced the 91-yard fifth hole at Greenwood.
"That was my first hole-in-one and I thought it would be my last," he said. "After my surgery I lost some distance but I gained accuracy. Now I hit it straight every time, but 225 yards is my maximum."
Saturday on No. 13, Loeffler hit his typical iron shot.
"It went straight and into the air," he said. "On No. 13 you can't see the cup, and when we walked to the green we saw Tony's ball but we didn't see mine. We assumed I went over the green but when we looked there we couldn't find it."
The golfers worked their way back to the cup and there it was.
"It was unreal," Loeffler said. "We high-fived each other and said what a great day this was. And with a big grin I went to the next hole."
The round featured an assortment of pars and the occasional birdie, and when they finished 18 holes the golfers decided to continue.
"When we went to No. 15 on the second round I told Tony that as often as I have played at Greenwood, I had never landed on the green off the tee on this hole," Loeffler said.
Loeffler hit another high and straight shot, and while it was in the air Doran commented that the ball would make the green this time.
"We watched it land, roll and disappear," Loeffler said. "When we lost sight of it we thought it went over the green but when we checked it out the ball wasn't there.
"Then we looked at the cup and, lo and behold, there it was. We hooted and we hollered and we laughed," Loeffler added.
Loeffler still can't believe what happened Saturday.
"Many people never get a hole-in-one, and I get two in one day," he said. "I feel blessed.
"My wife is a non-golfer and when I tried to explain this to her all she said was 'That's nice.' And she smiled.
"It was a fantastic day at Greenwood," Loeffler said.