Coming Up Aces

Paesani, Ray Cash in on Hole in One Pool

-Boylston, MA

What would you do with $24,000?  Not quite as exciting a proposition as say, $1.6 Billion Dollars, but for us in the golf business, a 24k win-fall could certainly put a bow on another golf season of grinding through lessons, member events and all the other duties PGA Professionals perform in a season.  Professionals in New England play for hundreds of thousands of dollars in purses each year, spread across more than 150 tournaments, but what if you could win more than the Section Championship and New England Open purses combined, all in one swing?  Enter John Paesani, PGA of the Bay Club, who recently accomplished that feat – with a twist.

Paesani is a veteran of the golf profession, having spent the entirety of his career in the northeast, split between the Connecticut and New England Sections over his 33 year stretch as a PGA Member. Affectionately known as Pi, with the mathematical symbol emblazoned on every golf ball he strikes, his golf career experience can appear infinite.  Known as an exceptional player throughout his career, Paesani has played in five Professional majors in addition to many PGA Professional Championships across all ages and classifications, with numerous wins to his credit.  His playing resume is one of consistency and longevity, and his current A-8 classification mixed with his age puts him in an exclusive group of PGA Professionals who can play all three championships in their Section (Senior, Assistant & Section Championships).  This is where Paesani’s 2018 hole-in-one story begins.

The 2018 Senior Championship was held at the beautiful Okemo Valley Golf Club in Ludlow, VT.  The event featured 80 Senior PGA Professionals competing over two days, with half of the field vying for valuable qualifying spots in the Senior PGA Professional Championship held later that fall.  Paesani entered the event with high hopes of advancing, but just four holes into the tournament, one couldn’t blame him if his thoughts shifted dramatically.  Sitting at even par through three with a birdie and a bogey on his card, he stepped to the 175-yard 4th hole looking to get under par.  His well struck shot found an unlikely resting place, at the bottom of the cup for an eagle, an ace, and a jolt of energy for this perennial contender.  Paesani finished his round at even-par, and entered the scoring area with an ear to ear grin and visions of cashing a sizable check for his efforts.

News of the ace had spread around the property before Paesani had finished his front nine, and the NEPGA Staff was quick to make sure Paesani had entered the hole-in-one pool, many times a kiss of death for our PGA Professionals who have made aces over the years only to realize they hadn’t dipped a toe in the pool.  Paesani checked the first important box and had paid his ante – but there was another box to check: was the NEPGA Senior Championship a Hole-In-One Pool eligible event?  The stipulations read: All events listed on the New England Section PGA schedule that are open to all Class A professionals are eligible for the pool.  Tournaments not administered by the NEPGA Section such as state opens, event qualifiers, etc. are not eligible.  Note: NEPGA Chapter, Assistant and Senior events are not eligible for the New England Section Pool. They may administer their own pool requiring a separate entry fee.

Upon hearing this confirmation from NEPGA Staff, Paesani was clearly in disbelief.  His second round 71 put him just outside the Senior Professional Championship qualifying, and a week and shot with so much promise turned up nearly empty handed.  But Paesani, being the competitor he is would not let this minor setback derail him.

The odds of an average golfer making a hole-in-one are approximately 12,500 to 1 according to the National Hole in One Registry.  Hole in One’s occur every 3500 rounds on average.  60% of Hole in one’s are made by people age 50 or over.  The odds of a PGA TOUR Professional making a Hole-In-One are much better, around 2500-1, so obviosly the chances for our skilled PGA Professionals are much better than the average golfer, but still very rare.  We see many hole in ones throughout our season by amateurs and Professionals, but whever it happens the thrill is still there for everyone present.  Earlier in the season in Rhode Island, NEAA President Brendon Ray, PGA of Point Judith made a hole in one at the Assistants Spring Championship at Valley CC, cashing in the annual pool run by the Assistants Association.

With all the statistics stacked against him after making an ace on July 30th, just over 4 weeks later on September 4th, Paesani would defy the odds.  At Granite Links for the final Stroke Play Series event of the season, Paesani began his round on the par-5 1st hole on the Quincy nine with a par.  He stepped to the tricky par-3 2nd hole, and for the second time in 5 weeks his ball found the bottom of the cup in one shot.  Unlike the Senior Championship in Okemo, the Stroke Play Series is in fact a Hole in One Pool eligible event!  With a hint of déjà vu, Paesani entered the scoring area once again with an ear to ear grin on his face, despite shooting a 1-over par 72.  He knew this time, his shot counted and he would have a share of the Hole-In-One Pool come year-end, the first time since Far Corner’s John O’Connor aced his way to the pot at Thorny Lea in 2007.

With only a few eligible events left on the calendar, Paesani knew there were minimal bullets left to dodge before he could take the lion’s share.  After the last shot was struck at the NEPGA George Wemyss Scholarship ProAm, it became official that Pi had caught not just a slice but the whole thing.  His $24,000 payday puts a ribbon on an eventful season.  Congratulations to John Paesani for his great shot(s), and even though we are starting from scratch in 2019 we can’t wait to see who makes the next great shot.  Remember, you can win if you aren’t in!

olfer making a hole-in-one are approximately 12,500 to 1 according to the National Hole in One Registry.  Hole in One’s occur every 3500 rounds on average.  60% of Hole in one’s are made by people age 50 or over.  With all the statistics stacked against him after making an ace on July 30th, just over 4 weeks later on September 4th, Paesani would defy the odds.  At Granite Links for the final Stroke Play Series event of the season, Paesani began his round on the par-5 1st hole on the Quincy nine with a par.  He stepped to the tricky par-3 2nd hole, and for the second time in 5 weeks his ball found the bottom of the cup in one shot.  Unlike the Senior Championship in Okemo, the Stroke Play Series is in fact a Hole in One Pool eligible event!  With a hint of déjà vu, Paesani entered the scoring area once again with an ear to ear grin on his face, despite shooting a 1-over par 72.  He knew this time, his shot counted and he would have a share of the Hole-In-One Pool come year-end, the first time since Far Corner’s John O’Connor aced his way to the pot at Thorny Lea in 2007.

With only a few eligible events left on the calendar, Paesani knew there were minimal bullets left to dodge before he could take the lion’s share.  After the last shot was struck at the NEPGA George Wemyss Scholarship ProAm, it became official that Pi had caught not just a slice but the whole thing.  His $24,000 payday puts a ribbon on an eventful season.  Congratulations to John Paesani for his great shot(s), and even though we are starting from scratch in 2019 we can’t wait to see who makes the next great shot.  Remember, you can win if you aren’t in!