April 14 was a nice enough day for Jeff Flowers, Director of Pastoral Care for MCGHealth. It was the day before his 52nd birthday, and he was enjoying a round of golf with two great friends, MCGHealth Chaplain Brennan Francois and Kevin Belanger, President and CEO of Shepeard Community Blood Center.
But on the 16th hole at the River Golf Club – a short par-4 that should have been a 334-yard run with a bunny hop over a small stream – he sank a ball in the water.
“It was a brand-new, beautiful Titleist Pro V1,” he said. “It was such an easy shot. How did I miss that?”
Crossing the bridge, he plucked an old ball out of the water to replace it. Penance, perhaps, for his expensive mistake. And he teed up with it on the 17th hole.
The three friends had a brief debate about the 154-yard par-3 in front of them. Against their advice, Flowers pulled a 9-iron, cocked and fired. The ball soared, bounced once – and aced the hole.
“I screamed like my hair was on fire. I was just running in circles and my buddies were piling on me,” Flowers said, with a delighted chuckle.
They approached the hole to double-check – and there it was, the water-worn ball with its dimples grinning up at him. For Flowers, who has been golfing since he was 12 years old, it was a shot 40 years in the making.
“It was a wonderful day and I got to share it with two great friends,” Flowers said. “These two guys are the best guys, and when something like that happens, it needs to be with the guys who will be with you in the nursing home when you’re telling the story no one believes. So you can say, ‘Ask him. He’ll tell you. It’s all true.’”