An exciting hole-in-one

Published 11:27 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When John Hansbarger recently moved to Suffolk, one of the motivations was to be closer to Riverfront Golf Club, which he considered to have “probably one of the best courses in the area.”

The move seemed particularly worthwhile in late July, when he hit a hole-in-one on No. 11, not only giving him a second career ace, but also further inspiring 7-year-old Nick Sanchez’s excitement for the game after witnessing the feat.

Hansbarger, a Riverfront Golf Club member since last November, was accompanied by his friend Paul Sanchez and son, Nick, at Riverfront on July 24 when the ace occurred.


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Number 11 measures about 150 yards, and Hansbarger said there was a helpful wind coming from the right. A 7-iron would have launched the ball over the green, so he used an 8-iron instead.

“Once we thought it hit the green, we couldn’t see it, so we didn’t know what happened,” Hansbarger said.

He thought he heard it hit the pin, however, and mentioned it to his companions. He asked Nick to get his range finder, but nothing could be concluded until the group drove to the green.

“Nick ran out there and looked in the hole and grabbed the ball out of the hole, and he put his arms in the air, and he said ‘Yeah!’” Hansbarger said.

“It basically took one hop about 6-10 inches in front of the hole and went straight in,” he said.

A golfer since 1986, Hansbarger’s first hole-in-one came 13 or 14 years ago at Heron Ridge Golf Club in Virginia Beach on a 145-yard No. 5.

Both aces came when he used an 8-iron. However, this hole-in-one took on a different character due to the presence of Nick, whose father has recently tried to get him interested in the sport, starting him in a golf academy at Naval Air Station Oceana.

“For Nick to be able to experience it was more exciting for me than actually putting it in the hole myself,” he said.