He golfed for 66 years but had to quit due to a hip problem.
93-year-old Ben Bender of Zanesville, Ohio, had played golf for 66 years.
But he’d never hit a hole-in-one.
Given the fact that the average amateur golfer has a 12,500-to-1 shot at a hole-in-one every time they step in the tee box, the fact that he’d missed the mark wasn’t particularly noteworthy — until his final game.
Bender, who suffers from hip bursitis, knew his days on the course were numbered when he stepped up to the third tee at Zanesville’s Green Valley Golf Club last month. The third hole is a tricky shot — typically a par three at 152 yards — and features a large lake in the center of the fairway (check out the video below).
But using a five wood, Bender drove the ball straight into the hole for his first-ever hole-in-one.
“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 the Zanesville Times Recorder.
A few holes later, Bender’s hip ached so severely he walked off the course for the final time. “My hips were hurting and I had to stop,” he said. “It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round, so he gave me a hole-in-one.”
There’s a saying among golfers that no matter how terribly you play, there’s always one shot per round that brings you back. For Bender, his final round had a shot that was a perfect one to go out on.
“I was lucky to play golf this long, but I never expected [a hole-in-one],” he said. “It was the last time I was able to play, and I think God had a hand in this. I loved the game and hate to give it up, but I can’t play forever.”