Sam Dewalt’s ace came with one caveat — $1,000

J. Patrick Eaken

Last Monday, Oak Harbor resident Sam Dewalt was filling out a W-9 tax form, but he was not complaining.

The previous Thursday Dewalt struck gold with a hole-in-one at Woussickett Golf Course outside Sandusky. The hole-in-one came with a caveat — it earned Dewalt $1,000, so the government wants its share, too.

Woodville resident Tim Grant leads a group of 16 seniors to different golf courses each Thursday, and this particular week they chose Woussickett. At the course, you can purchase a ticket that benefits the First Tee youth golf program.

“It’s a ticket you pay $3 for and at a certain par 3 you try your luck. A hole-in-one wins you $1,000, if you get it inside the flagstick (laying down) it is a $20 gift certificate, and if nothing then a free drink,” Grant said.

The 60-year-old Dewalt, a retired police officer, got his ace on No. 12, which is 152 yards from the amateur men’s tees. Golfers in the group range in age from 60 to 88, says Grant, but on this occasion Dewalt found himself golfing with new company.

“It is kind of a random pick on teams, so you may only play with a guy four times in a summer. Well, it happened that day that I was playing with two guys that I have never played with before and we were getting to know each other,” Dewalt said.

“We started on the back nine, so we started on hole 10, and the hole-in-one came on hole 12, so we were still asking each other, ‘What did you do for a living?’, ‘How long have you been retired?’, you know, all the typical general questions. We were still talking on the tee, and I got up, I had a 7-iron in my hand and the wind was swirling and I thought, ‘You know, this is plenty of club. I just don’t want to be short.’” Dewalt continued. 

“So, I took a nice, smooth swing on a 7-iron and we all looked at it, and we said, ‘Oh, that is going to be close.’ It hit just behind the flag and backed up and took one hop into the hole. It was a soft green. I just think it hit into the green, and it made a big ball mark, and it popped out of that hole, hit the pin, and fell straight down.”

It took next to no time for the celebration to begin, even though DeWalt said the group was playing “in and out of rainstorms the whole time.” 

“All of us were looking at it at the time. The one guy who I never played with before, I think he was more excited than I was,” Dewalt said. “He said, ‘I’ve never seen one of those’ and he starts yelling. So, we celebrated a little bit and then this guy goes, ‘Did you get a charity ticket?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I did,’ and he said, ‘This is the charity hole.’ Then I let out a little whoop.”

Even guests in the clubhouse joined in the celebration, and the course made an official $1,000 big-check presentation to Dewalt and the group on the green where he got his ace. Dewalt scored 42-44—86 for 18 holes.

“I know Woussickett golf club did some very special touches. I walked in off the green — it was the closest green to the clubhouse,” Dewalt said. “I walked inside and there was a guy paying for golf so I waited in line and the lady said, ‘How can I help you?’ I said, ‘Well, I think I won out here on the green.’ She said, ‘Oh, well lay the flagstick out and verify the distance to the hole,’ and I said, ‘It went in.’ She looked at me and said, ‘What?’ and the entire clubhouse exploded. They came right out with a little trophy — I have no idea where they found this little trophy.”

It was Dewalt’s second ace in his lifetime, the first coming with the same 7-iron at The Links at Queen Creek in Phoenix, Arizona.


‘The whole cross section of life’

The 65-year-old Grant has been organizing the group for the past two-and-a-half years. He says it the group has been travelling around to different courses long before he took over — he does not really know how long. For him, that was a first.

“As far as I know in the time that I’ve been playing with them, we have never had a hole-in-one,” Grant said. “We’ve had some eagles and stuff like that, but this is the first time since I’ve been doing it that anybody got a hole-in-one and of course, won $1,000.”

Grant took over the organization from another Oak Harbor resident, Terry Clark. Grant says most are from Woodville, Oak Harbor, or Port Clinton, but there are others from Northwood, West Toledo, Mansfield and elsewhere.

“It is fun. There are good golfers in the group, but most of us are average,” Dewalt said. “We just go and enjoy each other’s company. There is a whopping $4 you put into the pot, so it is not like anybody is getting rich or anything like that. Nobody gets mad, and it is a great group of guys. I do not think any of them are working anymore — I think all of them are retired and there is everything from attorneys to teachers to cops. I mean, it is the whole cross section of life.”

Grant says every Thursday morning they play a different course, usually within an hour drive in northern Ohio or southeastern Michigan. If you are thinking about contacting him, get in line.

“We have a lot of fun. It is a great bunch of guys,” Grant said. “We have 16 guys that are regulars, we have 15 that are subs that I will try to work in and sometimes on some of the courses I’ll try to get 20 so that more guys can play. Right now, we are a little on the full side. It is hard to keep all these guys happy because they all want to play, and we have the regulars who have been there pretty much from the beginning, and they get first shot at it.”

Grant said golfers may chose to golf from the amateur men’s tees or senior tees, but that does not mean competitive spirit is lacking.

“We do a staggered scoring system where we do five for an eagle, three for a birdie, two for a par and one for a bogey and if you get a double (bogey) you just pick up and you don’t get anything,” Grant said. “What I do is set teams and try to get them, so they are pretty much equal as far as points they have to make, and everybody kicks in $4 at the end and we pay for closest to the pin front and back and total front and back and total for the two nines.”

Grant and Dewalt note that the program which doled out $1,000 is beneficial for the course, too. The golf course’s youth golf program benefits financially anytime there is a winner on the course, and there are other financial incentives for being part of First Tee’s hole-in-one program.


The 16 league members are John Bredbeck (Port Clinton), Sam Dewalt, Terry Clark,Terry Hetrick, Carl Taylor, and Mark Ihde live in Oak Harbor, Tim Grant, Vic Welsh, Paul Heineman, and Bob Rospert live in Woodville, Gene Underwood, Bill Workman, and Dave Robonstine live in Elmore, Jim Poddany lives in Northwood. Ray Leach in Mansfield, and Paul Lacourse in Toledo. 


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