Thursday, June 05, 2008

Golfer hits 397 yard hole in one.



Here is an interesting golf story that you don't see everyday. This guy hit a 397 yard tee shot and oh yeah it was a no-putt if you know what I mean. That is impressive in my book. Most golfers have never hit a 390 yard+ drive before or it doesn't happen very often.

ROCKFORD -- Ben "Crusher" Kruizenga didn't react. Instead, he stood frozen at the blue tees on the seventh hole at North Kent Golf Course.

Kruizenga had just hammered a 397-yard tee shot -- that's 95 yards longer than Tiger Woods' average -- into the bottom of the cup for a hole in one.

But he had a problem. He didn't think anyone saw it.

"The pin was way up front," said Kruizenga of his May 21 feat. "I was playing by myself, and I didn't see anyone."


Luckily for Kruizenga, Kathleen Klein -- North Kent's owner -- and one of her rangers sat in a golf cart just beyond the green. Klein saw the ball roll in but thought nothing of it until Kruizenga asked if she had seen his ball.

"I saw my ball take one big hop off the ridge in front of the green," said Kruizenga, who said he has hit drives of 425 yards. "I figured it was close to the green. I was waiting there and wondered, 'Where's my ball?' "

The seventh hole at North Kent Golf Club is a straight, slightly uphill par 4 nestled in the back of the course. Kruizenga's shot bounced off a ridge about 10 yards in front of the green, avoided a row of stakes and found its way home.

Holes in one typically occur on par-3 holes ranging in length from 100 to 200 yards, so a behemoth ace like Kruizenga's is almost unheard of.

Klein gave the 22-year-old Kruizenga a trophy and will add his name to the hole-in-one plaque in the North Kent clubhouse. Callaway, the brand of golf ball Kruizenga used, sent him a plaque and golf balls.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing," Klein said.

The 397-yard hole-in-one is the record for longest ace at North Kent Golf Course, nearly double of the previous long ace of 200 yards.

Kruizenga bogeyed the eighth hole and parred the ninth to finish his round of nine with a 2-under 33.

"I was just trying to go through the motions in the final two holes," he said.

Kruizenga, who has been golfing since age 6, played football as a freshman at Rockford High School, then was on the junior varsity golf team as a sophomore. However, he said he was never was a very good golfer, just a long hitter, so he didn't play again on a high school team.

Now he plays two or three times per week, mostly with his father, Marty Kruizenga. The younger Kruizenga generally shoots "under par" and carries a 2 handicap. He uses an Encore driver from the manufacturer SMT, which began in 2001 as a custom club developer for long-drive competitions.

Kruizenga's ace last month was the third of his golfing career. He hit his first at Grand Rapids Golf Club on a 145-yard par 3 hole. His second came on the 246-yard 17th hole at Cedar Chase Golf Club.

Since he was underage for his first two, his father bought drinks for the witnesses. Now, Kruizenga is excited to have his turn buying.

As for his dad -- who has yet to score a hole in one -- Marty Kruizenga has enjoyed sharing his son's shot with other golfers.

"It's fun," he said. "I'm really proud of him."

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