Steve Marks didn’t really think about his shot into the par-3 12th. He simply grabbed his hybrid, put a tee in the ground and swung.
His nerves were still high. 20 minutes earlier, the 68-year-old Marks recorded the first hole-in-one of his 61-year golf career at his home course, Idlewild Country Club in Flossmoor, Illinois. He just wanted to make solid contact, still shaking from his crazy achievement only three holes prior.
Little did he know, his round was about to get a whole lot better.
Not only did he make solid contact, but Marks’ shot also went in the hole. Another ace. Two in four holes.
“It’s just incredible,” Marks told Golfweek. “The more I think about it, and the more people I talk to, the more incredible it is.”
The odds of having two aces during the same round are roughly 1 in 67 million, according to the National Hole in One Registry. The feat has only been accomplished three times on the PGA Tour, most recently by Brian Harman at The Barclays in 2015.
“I’ve been playing golf for more than 60 years, and you know when you hit a good shot,” Marks said. “But a good shot and going in the hole are two different things.”
Marks, who works in the jewelry business, has played nearly 1,000 rounds during his lifetime, but the one from late September stands out the most.
His first hole-in-one came on the ninth. The hole measured at 137 yards into a stiff breeze, so Marks clubbed up twice and hit a 5-iron. The shot bounced off a slope and tracked toward the cup before tumbling in.
The ninth tee box is situated close to the driving range and some pickleball courts, so plenty of people joined in on the celebration.
“I was calling everyone,” Marks said. “I’m shaken. It was just a whole great thing.”
Twenty minutes later, Marks was on the tee box of the par-3 12th hole. It faced the same direction as the par-3 ninth, so he pulled extra club on the 159-yard hole, a 21-degree hybrid. He was still in somewhat of a shock from what happened earlier.
“I was not even thinking,” Marks said of his shot, “and it went straight. It was a really good track but seemed to me because it was into the wind, it was a little short.
“And it bounced, maybe on the collar. Went straight up in the air, and boom. Slam dunk.”
Marks admits he wasn’t fully paying attention to his shot on the 12th hole because he remained engulfed in his emotions from the ninth.
And it’s not the first ace for his family at Idlewild this year. Marks’ wife, Shelly, hit one in May, so of the club’s five holes-in-one this year, three belong to the Marks family.
Marks said he’s in the process of making a custom shadowbox to display both his hole-in-one golf balls. He ended up shooting an 85 that day (he’s a 15 handicap), but all that will stand out on the scorecard are his two aces.
And frankly, he’s happy with that score. He doesn’t quite remember the final six holes of his round. On the 18th, there was a small crowd of people around the green, including his wife and plenty of friends, and Marks was just trying not to blade his wedge into the people behind the putting surface.
On the final par 3 at Idlewild, the 16th, Marks said some members gathered around to see whether there was any chance he was going to hit another ace.
But it’s safe to say 68 years was worth the wait for his first ace. And, his second came only 20 minutes later.
“There’s not a time that it doesn’t enter my mind,” Marks said. “When I go to bed at night and close my eyes, I think of at least the one on No. 9 and how it went in.
“You don’t want to toot your own horn, but I still have people coming up to me and telling me it’s just unbelievable how you did this.”
by Cameron Jourdan, Golfweek