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Hit me with your best shot: Local club pros recall memorable strokes

Joe Avento • May 3, 2020 at 9:30 PM

We asked local club pros to tell us in their own words about the greatest or most memorable shots they’ve ever hit in their golf careers.

The response was great, but not nearly as great as the shots.


Tennessee Golf Foundation

My greatest shot was not one to win a tournament or to break some record. It was a casual round of golf with three Special Olympic athletes. It occurred while I was working at Golf House Tennessee. One year we hosted the Special Olympics on The Little Course, a nine-hole, par-3 course. The staff each took a group of athletes to play nine holes.

My group came to No. 4, a short 120-yard par 3 that requires a low punch shot under trees. I hit my shot just under the trees and carrying the front greenside bunker. The green is sloped right to left, my ball lands on the high side of the green and rolls in slow motion into the hole.

The excitement I saw from the three athletes in my group is something I will not forget. It was as if they hit a hole-in- one, jumping up and down, running to get the ball out of the hole, holding the ball high in the air, and high-fiving everyone. It was an honor to share this experience with my three teammates that day.


Warriors Path GC

I would have to say my greatest shot was my first hole-in-one at Meadowview Golf Club in Kingsport on Sept. 5, 1993. I was playing golf with my father, Earl Fennell, and two other gentlemen. We were playing the seventh hole, a 153-yard par 3. I proceeded to hit a 7-iron 3 or 4 feet behind the hole and backed it up into the hole. What made it the greatest shot I ever hit was because I was with my dad and it was my first ace!


Elizabethton GC

I had taken approximately 30 members from my home club at Camden Country Club for a golf trip to Pawley’s Island. The last day of our trip we were playing Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. What seemed just an average golf day as I made the turn at 2 over par, changed dramatically on the back nine. After birding 15, 16, and 17, we came to the 18th hole where I had an approach shot of about 155 yards to a very severe two level green.

Caledonia has always been know for its patio off the grill 20 feet above the 18th green where golfers gather after play. On this day, the patio was absolutely packed with over 200 people watching players hit their approach shot. Now as intimidating as that might sound, it comes with cheers as well as heckles. The first two players in my group hit it in the marsh just short of the green and got some tremendous heckling. The third player in my group hit a golf shot that spun back down the two tier green and the crowd erupted as it just slipped by the hole.

Now it was my turn to hit with nervous anticipation of what my crowd reaction would be. I hit one of the best 8-irons I have ever hit right into the middle of the two-tier green. It took one hop, and slowly started trickling back. As the ball picked up speed, the crowd went from a light roar to a loud thunder as my ball lipped out for eagle and stopped about 3 feet from the hole. As I came up to the green, the crowd went crazy and I went on to tap the putt in for birdie and my fourth straight birdie.

What made the shot so special is we all get to watch the guys and girls on TV hit great shots and the crowd reacts. For one day, I got to feel what the pros do as they play week in and week out and that is what made it very special.


Cattails at MeadowView

It was 1984 and the final round of a 54-hole tournament. On the 500-yard par-5 first hole, I blocked my tee shot into the right rough surrounded by fir trees. I could not see the green but had an opening for a shot 25 yards left of the green. I hit my 3-wood through the slot while attempting to curve the ball left to right. The ball felt solid coming off the club face but I had no idea where it landed. As our group approached the green, we located my ball embedded 2 inches left of the hole.


Ridgefields CC

Last summer during a casual round of golf with my husband, I made my first albatross, a 2 on a par 5. We were playing one of the most spectacular courses I’ve ever played called Primland in the mountains of Virginia, at the Meadows of Dan. The hole was long, very tight and tree-lined. The tee box was at a significant elevation. I hit a beautiful drive down the center of the fairway.

I had a 9-wood in to the green (about 175 yards). The pin was on the back of the green and we couldn’t see the cup because of the slope of the green. It looked like a great shot but I thought it might have gone long. When we drove around the green and didn’t see the ball I immediately checked the cup and there it was!


Blackthorn Club at The Ridges

The shot that I will remember forever was during the high school state tournament in the fall of 1992. It was in the first round and I was off to a bad start through the first few holes and not playing well. I hooked my drive on the long par-5 sixth hole and had to just chip it back out to the fairway.

I then hit a 3-wood to about 2 feet and made and unlikely birdie. The shot changed my week and I ended up state runner-up after I lost in a five-hole playoff. That week gave me the confidence that I could compete with the best and play college golf.


Pine Oaks GC

One of the most memorable golf shots in my career was when I was 14 years old playing at Scioto Reserve Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. On the eighth hole, playing roughly 150 yards, I hit a 7-iron and made my first- ever hole-in-one.

The shot was made even more special because witnessing the shot was my father, one of my uncles who got me started playing, and my cousin. The shot itself will be a memorable one for me being my first ever hole-in-one, but even more special being able to share that moment with my family.


Johnson City CC

My best shot was in my first high school match. I was unfamiliar with the golf course and on the third hole, a short par 4 with water in front of the green, I took a driver not knowing that the water was in play with a driver. I walked down the fairway to find my ball still in play in the rough just in front of the penalty area (then a water hazard). A short pitch shot is needed and I landed the ball on the front of the green and the ball rolls into the center of the hole for a 2. My first hole- out and first eagle.


Teaching pro

When I was 12 years old, I snuck onto Baneberry Golf & Resort and found a 9-iron lying green side on the 10th hole. At this point I had always seen the golf course from my grandparents’ farm but never played. I started to swing it and of course whiffed it, shanked it, topped it and everything else you can think of when we start out.

After about the 20th ball, I heard a scooter engine humming but did not see anyone riding a scooter. I proceeded to hit that ball and it was right off the hosel and nearly took out the scooter guy with my shank. I came to find out that scooter guy was part owner and PGA professional Mr. Tom Kammann.

People may say, Jeremy, how can this be your greatest shot you shanked the ball and nearly killed someone? Because what came next changed my life and shaped the PGA professional I am today. Tom made a deal that if I picked up the range for him that I could hit as many balls as I wanted to. And as you can imagine, that was the sweetest deal I had ever heard!

Tom would go on to mentor me into the business where I fell in love with the game and knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Greatest shank I have ever hit.


Retired, Johnson City CC

When I was at Johnson City Country Club, we were playing in the City Cup against Blackthorn. I had a slick downhill chip on the last hole and the ball landed in the fringe, slowed down just enough.

When it fell into the hole, the people in the veranda behind the green cheered. That’s the way golf is. I got a lucky break on the last hole. That was one in a thousand. I hit a bad second shot there and that was embarrassing in front of the home crowd. But it all worked out in the end.


Link Hills CC

At Johnson City Country Club as the assistant pro and I was playing with two members. We were on the par-3 17th hole and they hit first and stuffed their shots a couple of feet away from the pin, one right and one left of the hole.

I announced that I would hit my shot between their balls and make an ace. I hit a wedge behind the hole and with backspin and BAM! We all just yelled and laughed.


Glenrochie CC

I think it was the 2000 Tennessee Section Championship at Cleveland Country Club in Cleveland, Tennessee. I was a rookie in the tournament and I think I had shot 72-69 in the first two rounds and was in great shape heading into the last day. I was nervous and anxious and I hit the ball all over the map on the front nine, but I was getting up and down from everywhere.

I think I made the turn at even or maybe 1 over. I get to the 14th hole, which is a par 5. I hit a decent drive and had 213 yards left to the hole. Back then, we didn’t have hybrids so I proceeded to break up my no-hitter on the day with a crisp Ben Hogan Apex 3-iron — two bounces on the green and into the hole! Double eagle!


The Virginian

It was a cold and windy April morning 10 or so years ago when I teed off with the men’s morning group at The Virginian. The temperature was hovering around 50 degrees and wind was blowing about 20 miles an hour throughout the day, which obviously made it feel much colder. For some reason, I was having an exceptional ball-striking day and actually made some putts.

I was playing the 18th hole, which is a par 5, and I was 6 under par at the time and bogey free. The flagstick was located on the front of the green and I remember the yardage to the hole being 235 yards directly into the wind. I pulled out a 3-wood and hit one of the best shots of my life, which flew to the front of the green and rolled about 20 feet directly into the cup for an albatross (score of 2 on a par 5).

Just like that, I went from 6 under to a 9 under par score of 63, and the lowest round of my life. At that time 63 was one shot off the course record of 62. I’ve had nine holes-in-one in my golfing career, with a couple in tournaments, and a number of them on some difficult holes, but that shot for a deuce far outweighs any of those.


Clear Creek GC

My highlight shot would be a double eagle at the Johnson City Country Club while playing in a pro-am. On the par-5 third hole, I hit my drive left and then hit a 5-iron. I thought it went over the green but it had hit on the back of the green and backed into the hole.

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