I’ve never had a hole-in-one. It’s currently a sore subject in my household. My golf club sends out emails anytime a member hits a hole-in-one. There were TWO last Sunday and one on Tuesday of last week. Three holes-in-one last week! My wife hits me with ‘if they’re so common and everyone’s getting them, why don’t you have a hole-in-one yet?’ I’m working on it. The problem is I’m just not a great golfer.
54-year-old Kevin Pon is an East Bay golfer in Northern California who carries a 10 handicap. He’s a better golfer than me. And he’s just achieved a feat that has only happened 5 times in the history of golf. He hit a ‘condor’, which is scoring a 2 on a par-6.
My buddy plays this course out in the Bay Area regularly and tells me all about this wild Par-6 hole but never once has it crossed my mind that someone could score a 2 on the hole. But that’s exactly what happened, and prior to his ‘2’ on a Par-6 the previous condors were all holes-in-one on par-5’s. This is the first-ever 2 on a par-6 according to Mercury News. Here’s a look back at the par-6 18th hole if you are standing on the green:
This happened at Lake Chabot Golf Course in Oakland, California which is home to ‘one of the only par-6 holes west of the Mississippi.’ I’ve never played one myself but it sounds great. There’s not a club in my golf bag that I hit better than my 3-wood.
Kevin Pon became the first golfer in history to record a 2 on a Par-6 after launching his drive 540-yards downhill with some enormous bounces. He then pulled his PW for a 120-yard shot into the cup. Miraculously, a marshal was with a nearby group and looked over to see Pon’s pitching wedge shot take a big bounce, hit the stick, and go in the hole so there was no doubt that this was legitimate.
How rare is a -4 Condor? So rare that the PGA doesn’t even list odds for it:
The PGA has long calculated the odds of an average golfer hitting a hole-in-one at 12,500-to-1. The odds get exponentially longer — at least 1 million-to-1 — that a regular golfer can shoot a double eagle, or an albatross.
A condor, though, is golf’s rarest of birds. So rare the PGA doesn’t even list any odds of a golfer achieving it.
In golf’s history, there were just four previous condors reported through 2018 — all of them holes-in-one on par 5s, starting in 1962 when a golfer in Hope, Ark. cut the corner on a dogleg for an ace on a 480-yard hole. Before Pon’s rare feat, the last condor was in 2007, when a 16-year-old aced a 511-yard hole in New South Wales, Australia. (via Mercury News)
From the report, it sounds like his drive took two ENORMOUS bounces off the cart path before traveling over 500 yards. The hole is downhill but not that downhill. The cart path on the Par-6 18th hole zigs and zags all over down the hill so it’s quite possible that it took 75+ yard bounces.
The thing that really trips me up about him becoming the first-ever golfer to score a Condor on a Par-6 is that he was wearing blue jeans. You simply cannot golf in blue jeans, ever, it’s not acceptable. I guess his buddy asked him to go golfing at the last minute and while he had his golf shoes in his car all he had were his blue jeans and a polo shirt so he wasn’t able to change into golf clothes.
He told Mercury News that he was +7 with a 71 going into the 18th hole and he normally hits his driver around 280-yards. So finishing with a 500+ yard drive and shooting a 73 had to be one hell of a way to start the year. He was ‘in a state of disbelief’ after seeing his monster drive and figured he must’ve hit a sprinkler head. Then he hit a good wedge and was shocked when he approached the green to cheers from other golfers:
Pon and Lee were taken aback when they heard an eruption of cheers from a group of people who were atop the hole after finishing their round.
“I figured I just hit a good shot,” Pon said.
The clapping and yelling only intensified as Pon made his way up the hill to the hole, causing Pon to think the unthinkable — did it go in?
“I looked in the hole and it was in there. I could not believe I had hit the drive of my life and then hit it in the hole the next shot. And I didn’t even see the ball come to rest on those two shots,” Pon said. (via Mercury News)
You could be the best golfer in the world and never experience the thrill of a condor. In fact, the best golfer in the world has never recorded a condor, at least not on the record. Let me repeat, there’s only been FIVE EVER in the history of the sport.
Next time I’m in the Bay Area (next Fall) I’m 100% playing this course. I have to. I need to see this Par-6 18th hole for myself.