October 19, 2014 - 1:40pm
mark.aumann's picture
Growling Frog Golf Course
appix29/Instagram
North of Melbourne, Australia, Growling Frog Golf Course has the typical hazards -- bunkers, water and the occasional marsupial.

Sorry, we're just suckers for animals on golf courses. Eagles stealing golf balls? Check. A bear cub dancing with the flagstick? Got it. Snakes at the China Open? Yep.

We've even seen elephant tracks on the greens in Malaysia. (Good luck fixing those spike marks.)

WILD GOLF STORIES: Readers share some unusual tales

So we've pretty much seen it all when it comes to "animals on golf course" photos. Or we thought we had, until appix29 posted this shot on Instagram for the #PGA365 reader-submitted photo gallery.

It's from Growling Frog Golf Course in Yan Yean, Australia, on the north side of Melbourne. And yes, those are kangaroos. And no, they didn't show good etiquette by raking the bunkers afterward. (And yes, Growling Frog is an awesome name for anything, and probably worthy of a story in its own right.)

 

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Only in Australia... Growling Frog GC. #teamtitleist #mytitileist

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Birdies, eagles, albatrosses and now marsupials. "Reckon you can put me down for a Joey on that hole, mate."

'ROOS ON THE LOOSE: Kangaroos interrupt LPGA tournament

After that, finding photos of golf balls landing on alligators is almost routine.

Caution: Kangaroo crossing
Dom DeBonis
Dom DeBonis/Facebook
Dom DeBonis is surrounded by his golfing buddies after an amazing week on the links.

Every golfer dreams of making at least one hole-in-one. Many golfers dream of taking a trip to the golf mecca known as Myrtle Beach. But the idea of making aces in three consecutive rounds at Myrtle Beach? That happened to 81-year-old Dom DeBonis this week.

This amazing feat comes courtesy of an article in Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, written by Gerry Dulac.

ACES WILD: Man makes two aces in one round

Here's the background: Mr. DeBonis is a Pittsburgh native who now resides in The Villages, Fla. A former college golfer at Duquesne, the 14-handicapper made his first hole-in-one some 45 years ago, and then had another last month at his home course.

So when he had the opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach with 11 friends on a golfing trip to the Grand Strand, he couldn't resist. On Oct. 6, Mr. DeBonis carded an ace at Farmstead Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. He used a 9-iron from 112 yards out on the seventh hole.

The next day, he added a second hole-in-one at the Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., using a 7-iron at the 129-yard sixth hole.

And the topper came on Oct. 8 at Blackmoor Golf Club, where Mr. DeBonis added his third ace in three days with an 8-iron at the 118-yard fourth hole.

CONSECUTIVE ACES: College golfer makes holes-in-hole on two par-3s

“There was a tree in front and a shadow over the green, but I said, ‘Oh, my God, I think it went in,’ ” Dulac quoted Mr. Debonis as saying. “We couldn’t see it. One of the guys said, ‘I think it’s in.’ So we walked up to the hole and there it was. I just couldn’t believe it. It was the most memorable week.”

A retired clothing buyer, Mr. DeBonis is considered the "kid" in his golfing family. According to the Post-Gazette story, brothers Nick DeBonis (97) and Al DeBonis (93) still regularly play golf -- and not surprisingly, shoot their ages on a routine basis. And a fourth brother, John, was 84 when he died in July.

In case you're wondering, the streak ended for Mr. DeBonis the following day at TPC at Myrtle Beach.

Still, the opportunity to buy drinks for the house on three consecutive days far outweighs the alternative.

 

Three consecutive rounds with an ace? 81-year-old Dom DeBonis just did it
October 17, 2014 - 9:15am
andrew.prezioso's picture
Willie Park Sr.
PGA of America
In this photo dated back to the 1850s, Willie Park Sr. is the one in the center. Park would go on to win the first professional golf tournament in 1860.

Today's an important date in golf history. The professional part of the game is turning 154 years old today. 

While not played for the Claret Jug at the time, that tournament is the precursor to the Open Championship. In fact, the first Claret Jug would not be presented to the winner until 1873. 

So what was golf like back then? Here's the description of the event, which was won by Willie Park Sr., from the Open Championship website: 

[Park] opened his bid for the first championship at Prestwick in 1860 with a tremendous tee shot that was described by one onlooker as “sounding as if it had been shot from some rocket apparatus” and after three rounds of the 12-hole course he came to the final hole with a one shot lead over his great rival Old Tom Morris. Two putts from 10 yards would have secured him victory, but in his usual fashion he gave the ball a firm rap and it bumped and bobbled across the uneven surface before diving into the hole. He was the first champion golfer by two clear shots.

And who was this Park? Here's how the Open Championship website describes him: 

Willie Park, winner of the first Open Championship in 1860, was the Arnold Palmer of his day. "He goes bold at everything," was the generally held view, "especially with his long putts." It was felt that his aggressive style of play, so often successful in match play, would let him down over 36 holes of stroke-play in the first championship, but he was emphatically to prove his detractors wrong with four Open titles and four runner-up places in a 16-year spell.

 

Happy birthday, professional golf
October 17, 2014 - 8:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
eagle
YouTube
This is one of those rare times when an eagle on the golf course isn't a good thing.

An eagle on the golf course is usually a great thing.

In this particular case, however, it didn't help anyone's scorecard.

Check out this video where an actual, real life eagle picks a golf ball up of the green and takes off:

So what do you do if this happens to you? That's covered under decision 18-1 in the Rules of Golf:
 
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

 

Eagle steals man's golf ball
October 17, 2014 - 7:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rafa Nadal
YouTube
In this video, tennis star Rafa Nadal works on his poker face by trying to convince two golfers he has amnesia after being struck in the head with a golf ball.

What's better than a well-executed prank?

That's exactly what tennis star Rafa Nadal pulled off recently on a course in Majorca, Spain, on a couple of unsuspecting golfers.

It was all part of a hidden-video prank by PokerStars, in which Nadal would work on his, "poker face," to convince the golfers he had been hit in the head with a ball and had amnesia.

Check it out here:

Now that was good stuff. The two golfers looked genuinely concerned when they saw a man down on the green and then you could see on their faces it quickly escalated to panic when they realized the man down was one of the world's most famous athletes.

Tennis star Rafa Nadal pranks unsuspecting golfers
Mikko Ilonen's scorecard
European Tour
Mikko Ilonen's magic number on Thursday at the Volvo World Match Play Championship was 3.
It's mid-October, but this is a big week in golf around the globe. The PGA Tour is in Las Vegas, the LPGA Tour is in South Korea, the Champions Tour is in North Carolina, and the European Tour has a pair of events going on: the Hong Kong Open in Asia and the Volvo World Match Play Championship outside of London.
 
As we most recently saw at the Ryder Cup, match-play golf is a unique animal that often produces memorable scorecards. It happened again on Thursday on the second day of the Volvo Match Play.
 
Defending champion and Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell faced off against Mikko Ilonen of Finland in a match that McDowell was almost universally expected to win. But he lost, 2 and 1, because Ilonen carded 12 3s over the 17 holes of their match.
 
5 TO WATCH: See who T.J. Auclair has his eye on at the Shriners Hopitals for Children Open
 
Check out the card posted above. After a par on the par-5 opening hole, Ilonen ran off three 3s in a row to build a 2-up lead. He then parred the par-5 sixth hole to see his lead drop to one hole, then carded four more 3s in succession to grab a 4-up lead through 10 holes. From there, he went 4-3-5-3-5-3-3.
 
Amazing, 12 3s. Perhaps even more amazing considering how well he was playing, Ilonen didn't make birdie or eagle on any of the four par-5 holes. 
 
McDowell, for his part, didn't play poorly – he had seven 3s on his own card, and he halved six of the holes on which he made a 3. Between the two of them, they had 13 birdies and no bogeys.
 
Scorecard of the Day: Mikko Ilonen at the Volvo World Match Play Championship