Sometimes, perfection takes time. Ben Bender first picked up a golf club at 28 years old. Sixty-five years later, he drained his very first hole-in-one, and then eloquently closed the chapter on his playing days.
The 93-year-old, who has hip bursitis, pulled out his 5-wood and saw the ball fall into the cup on the third hole at Green Valley Golf Club in Zanesville, Ohio. Then he decided to leave the sport on the ultimate golfer’s high.
“I’d come close to some hole-in-ones, but this one was level on the green before it curved towards the hole and went in,” Bender told USA Today. “I was in awe watching it. I played a few more holes, but my hips were hurting and I had to stop. It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round so he gave me a hole-in-one.”
It goes to show that golf really is all about ebb and flow. Bender scored an 8 on the first hole and a 7 on the second hole before hitting his memorable ace.
His involvement in the sport began decades ago when he bought a golf set for $50. The self-taught golfer then brought his handicap down to as low as a 3. But, like any avid golfer, his learning curve was steep.
“The second hole I ever played, I hit my drive towards a fence,” Bender said. “When I got there, I was ready to put my ball on a tee when another guy said you can’t do that. You can only tee it up when you drive it. I hit that ball and hopped out of the grass like a rabbit.
“That’s how I learned to play the game,” he added. “We talked to each other and worked together. I enjoyed the game until the end.”
And isn’t that goal for so many golfers out there?
Congratulations to you, Ben. We hope you’re still celebrating.