Doug Hintze (right) beams and buys his buds a round at the Carbon Country Club after hitting a hole-in-one and scoring a personal best on the course. But there's more to the story than that.
Those who believe that adversity leads opportunity got some validation Tuesday, when life-long Carbon County educator Doug Hintze used rented clubs and borrowed tees to shoot a personal low score and ring up his first hole-in-one at the Carbon Golf Course.
The saga which culminated with a round of celebratory drinks at the course, began when Hintze arrived to play with those affectionately known as the Tuesday Senior FOG. The Carbon course has a long history of senior golf which now includes about 70 of the area's golden golfers who play Chicago once a week as soon as the course has shaken off its winter frost. Chicago is a points game which allows players of any skill level to compete equally.
"I pulled up, got in the trunk and my clubs weren't there," said Hintze, who lives in East Carbon, about 45 minutes from the course. "I was a little upset about that because I knew there wasn't much I could do to get them."
Hintze, who finished his career as the Carbon District Associate Superintendent, is known as a very organized individual, making the forgotten clubs good for a laugh for more than 60 of his closest friends. The former East Carbon and Carbon High Principal began golfing in earnest about eight years ago when he retired. He has been a fixture with the seniors ever since.
"He's funny," said Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes, who helps Hintze organize Tuesday's play and keep records. "He's one of those guys that has to have the chairs lined up just right. So it was great to give him a bad time about forgetting."
After a last-ditch effort to get his own clubs headed to the course failed, Hintze accepted his fate with a rental set and set out for the round of his life.
"I borrowed some tees, bought some balls and got on with it, he said. "Right off the bat, things went well."
Hintze started on the back side with a couple of pars and a bogey before dropping an ace on Carbon's short 13th Hole.
"I really never thought I was going have a hole-in-one," said Hintze. "But the whole round was like that. It was fun. Everything just fell into place."
Hintze went on to best his career low 77 by two strokes, recording a 75 and his first ace on the same day.
"We were joking that TK (Club pro Tom King) would sell him that set for $125 when the round started," laughed Barnes. "When he finished playing, the price had climbed to $1,000."
As it happens, Hintze's ace was not the only hole-in-one shot Tuesday morning, as Gary Denhalter dropped his own ace on #6, meaning that two rounds were enjoyed by the seniors after FOG play concluded.
"He was pretty excited when he called me after the round," said Hintze's wife Tawnie. "I bet he's still smiling."