MOUNTAIN TOP — For 35 years, Don Rossi has been an avid golfer. During that time, his only hole-in-one came at Hollenback Golf Course seven years ago.
His next hole-in-one would mean much more than his first.
Rossi, 68 of Exeter, made a $10,000 hole-in-one at the annual Luzerne County Community College Alumni Association Golf Tournament recently held at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club in Mountain Top.
On the Ridge Course’s ninth hole, Rossi elected a 7-iron and he hit it good on the 150-yard hole. Good enough to see the spotters near the green start screaming.
“That’s when I knew it was in,” Rossi said. “It was a gorgeous day and honestly I hit it like I would normally hit it like any other time. I knew I hit it good.”
The following 10 minutes were a whirlwind for the golfer. After celebrating for some time, and not realizing he’s just won $10,000, a group member came up and dropped him the news. That’s when it really sunk in.
“What a celebration it was afterwards,” he said. “I was so elated about the hole-in-one I didn’t even think about the $10 grand. I went up there to hit it just like I was playing with my buddies.”
Rossi, who works at Cross Valley Federal Credit Union, was filling in for someone who couldn’t make the tournament. Now, with thousands in his pocket, Rossi and his wife, Carol, will take the grandchildren on vacation.
“It was something I will always remember, and never forget that entire scene,” he said. “Honestly it went on and on from there. Every person in that tournament came over and congratulated me. Everyone was wonderful.”
According to the National Hole In One Association, the chances of an amateur golfer making a hole in one is 1 in 12,500. A pro golfer’s odds are 2,500 to 1. Also, the oldest man to record a hole-in-one was 102. In one year, the association says approximately 150,000 holes-in-one are reported from an estimated 490 million rounds of golf.
At Blue Ridge, the ninth hole on the Ridge Course recently went through a renovation, according to General Manager Tony Barletta. He’s been working at the course for 19 years, and this is just the second time he’s seen someone make a hole-in-one where a prize that large was awarded.
Throughout the year, he said, the course sees anywhere between 8 to 10 holes-in one.
“That yardage is usually set up around 170 yards,” Barletta said. “It’s a great hole and you can see the whole green. That was cool for us to see.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick