What are the odds?
According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, Walt Winningham's chances of making two holes-in-one Wednesday at Charleston Municipal Golf Course were 67,000,000 to 1. But the 72-year-old West Ashley resident beat those odds, making his first-ever ace on the par-3 11th hole and a few minutes later scoring his second on the par-3 14th.
"It really hasn't sunk in," said Winningham, who has been playing golf since he was 13. "Somebody asked me after No. 11 how I felt and I said my heart was beating 100 miles an hour.
"On the second one I had calmed down. I started concentrating on golf. The pressure was all gone then."
Winningham had just resumed playing golf a few days earlier. He said he stayed off the golf course for several months, partly because of the hot weather.
Winningham was playing with a group called the Rascals and was paired with Ken Martin, Guy Via and Larry Boudolf.
"I got to 11 and I wasn't playing good," Winningham said. "Usually at that distance (officially 135 yards) I'll hit an 8- or 9-iron. But I decided to take a 6-iron and just hit it toward the green. At first I thought it went past the hole, in the fringe or the rough. But we walked up, looked and it was in the hole."
Winningham followed that with a triple-bogey on No. 12 but settled down by the time he got to 14. He selected a 9-iron and played the shot to the right of the flag because of the wind.
"When I hit it I knew it was coming right down at the pin. I was saying 'get in the hole! get in the hole!' I heard it hit the pin real solid. You could hear it from 100-something yards out," Winningham said.
When his foursome got to the green, they could see only one ball and Winningham knew it wasn't his. He grabbed a wedge and his putter, thinking the ball had ricocheted into the bunker. But Martin told him to look in the hole first and there it was.
"You don't know how you will react when it happens. Before I had finished everybody on the whole course knew what had happened. It was pretty exciting," Winningham said.
Still, he wasn't excited about his overall score, a 79.
"To me, that's bad. I'm used to shooting 75 and below with no problem," Winningham said.
Winningham said he's made plenty of eagles, and years ago made a hole-in-one on a pitch-and-putt course that was located at the present-day site of the Nissan dealership on Savannah Highway.
"I hit one on the third hole and the ball hit the sprinkler head and kicked up in the hole. I didn't even hit the green. That was just a fluke. I don't classify that as a legitimate hole-in-one. It wasn't even on a real course," he said.
And the two aces weren't even that expensive when it came time to buying the traditional post-round drinks. Winningham said the bill came to about $32 and he gave the bartender two $20s and told her to keep the change.