East Toledo military vet beats the odds at Hidden Hills

J. Patrick Eaken

For any golfer to get a hole-in-one is challenging, but it became even harder this summer.
        Because of the coronavirus pandemic, most golf courses had some kind of bumper in the hole so you did not have to pull the flag when you reached for your golf ball. 
        This fall, some courses removed the bumper, some did not. For golf leagues this summer, it made the definition of a good putt a little more difficult because the bumper would occasionally not allow the ball to settle into the hole.
        East Toledo resident Bernie Anderson, 54, a 27-year military veteran and member of the Genoa VFW, overcame the odds. His hole-in-one was not a so-called “COVID hole-in-one,” which means it was adjusted because it was bumped out. Instead, the ball stayed in the cup resting on the bumper.
        Anderson aced the 171-yard, par three, No. 16 at Hidden Hills Golf Club using a Moon Wood 25 degree fairway wood and a Callaway golf ball. He was golfing with his longtime buddy, 54-year-old Trevor Hyter of Walbridge. It was Anderson’s first hole-in-one and he went on to shoot an 88 for 18 holes.
        The shot did not take the usual route to the green, and the two golfers were slightly surprised at the ultimate outcome.
        “When I hit it, it was kind of a low arc ball — it didn’t have a high arc to it,” Anderson said. “It arced to the right and then it kind of came back in. It bounced before the green and then it bounced back up onto the green, and then it kind of slowed way down. It kind of went in slow motion. It slowed down so much and then it just stopped.
        “We could still see the ball, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to a hole-in-one.’ My buddy and I, we were riding up there, and he zoomed up there before me, and he said, ‘Dude, you’re in.’ Because of the set up that they had out there, I was really surprised. If it would have been hit any harder it would have bounced right out and we would have never known. It just crawled right in and just kind of sat there.”
        Anderson said he had a premonition before they began golfing, but was thinking a hole-in-one might be impossible because of the metal bumper.
        “I was thinking earlier that day, I don’t know what it is, but it’s going to be difficult to get a hole-in-one anymore because of if it doesn’t land in the hole, or you don’t see it in the hole, if it hits that bumper a little bit too hard it’s going to bounce right out,” Anderson said.
        “At Hidden Hills, they had this metal cup in there and it’s kind of divided into thirds,” Anderson continued. “Even just putting and everything, I noticed that if you putt too hard and it hits that thing it will bounce right off. If it goes a little too hard, and that’s why I was surprised it just stayed in there. But when we saw it back on the tee, it kind of slowed way down and everything and because we could still see the ball we didn’t think it was actually in. But, the way it just sat out there, it was like, ‘Oh, my God.’”
        Anderson, who still works despite his military retirement, says he has been golfing “30 years off and on,” but like many others, got in more golf this year because it was one of the few things you could actually go out and do, recreationally.
        “We’ve played more this year than we have the previous couple years. Last year I got out maybe five times all year,” Anderson said.
        It’s shots like his Hidden Hills ace that keeps him coming back for more, and now he’s hopefully for hole-in-one No. 2.
        “Every time we go golfing I get closer I get close, and (Hyter) says, ‘What more do you want? You’ve already got a hole-in-one.’ I said, ‘I want another one,’” Anderson said.


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