From Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul The Second Round

Take Your Best Shot

It was a warm summer day and my friend had invited me over to his house. He lived close to the local golf club and I was always eager to visit, because we spent most of our time playing in the woods near the golf course or on the course itself. We had our very own hideaway in the woods, and from this hideaway you could see, in the far distance, a flagged hole on the course.

On this specific day, my friend and I were relaxing on the green of the course, just enjoying the quietness of the day, with the sun on our faces, and without a care in the world, when suddenly a golf ball came out of nowhere and landed right in front of us. We both looked at each other and laughed. Our first instinct, as typical seven-year-olds, was to toss the ball back and forth to each other while running around, not giving too much thought to who owned the ball. We played around with this golf ball, running with it and throwing it. When we approached the hole, we realized it was getting late, so we did what any normal seven-year-old would do: We put the ball in the flagged hole and started to leave. Then we heard voices. Fearful it was the owners of the ball, we panicked and ran to the woods before being seen. From there we watched and waited, hoping they would not be too angry we moved their ball.

We watched the men scanning the horizon and peering into the grass and we heard them wondering aloud where in the world the ball could have gone. Almost ready to give up their search, they checked the flagged hole. What we saw then was quite a sight: These two grown men hugged each other and screamed and then they jumped up and down again and again. We soon understood why. Both men were screaming with excitement that one of them got a hole-in-one on the hardest hole on the course.

Their excitement made it hard for my friend and myself to confess to our intrusion, so we left it alone and went home. While we realized we had done something wrong, we convinced ourselves it was harmless and someone sure was happy because of it. So we decided to leave well enough alone and forget it. After all, it was just two local men out for a round of golf. Until . . .

I will never forget the feeling that came over me when I saw the local newspaper the next morning. It was a big front-page article, with a huge picture of a beaming man, smiling from ear to ear, holding his golf club.

It was a face I knew well, because I had assisted him in his famous shot!

The headline read: “Local man honored for his best shot.”

Until that moment, I didn’t realize the importance of moving that ball had until I saw the front page of the paper. Seeing that golfer’s face on the front page of that paper brought back the excitement that we witnessed the day before. Reading to what extent placing that ball in that hole made on his life was a bittersweet moment.

This man, just an average guy, became a legend around the club because of that shot, and he was recognized for his talent as a golfer. He was presented with awards for making the hardest shot look so easy, and he was the first one to ever make a hole-in-one on that hole. This man was clearly so happy, and I know to this day that he will never forget that magical moment and the glory it brought him.

I guess things happen for reasons, and for some reason, we were meant to put that ball in that hole that day. We were innocent children playing with a ball, never realizing the power of our actions and how they can affect so many lives. Just a little golf ball being put into a little hole changed the life of one man. To this day, people remember the golfer’s name and his “best shot.” When we reminisce over our long-kept secret of that summer day, many years ago, my friend and I still look at each other and laugh.

Ann Birmingham

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