According to Golf Digest, the odds of a low-handicap golfer making two aces in the same round are 67 million to 1. Southwest Florida had not one -- but two -- golfers make two aces in a round in less than a month.
Bill Meyer was the second, and did it in the least amount of time. The 82-year-old was playing at the par-3 Bentley Village when he used a pitching wedge to make a hole-in-one on the 87-yard No. 7. He stepped up on the next hole and -- using the same club and ball -- made another one from 89 yards on Sept. 9. Vern Kaskey, Jim Buske and Marv Parker were playing with him.
Joe Sadelfeld, who turned 69 on Tuesday, was the first and did it on consecutive par-3s as well, but on a regulation course at Wyndemere. Sadelfeld used an 9-iron from 136 yards on No. 4 on the White Course, then on the next par 3, No. 7, did it with an 8-iron from 148 yards on Aug. 17. Tom Dowling and Marv Needles witnessed both.
"I was there, and I was in shock. It just doesn't happen," Sadelfeld said of the two aces.
Both had interesting stories.
Meyer, originally from Stamford, Connecticut, was set on getting a new golf bag at the club's thrift shop during the round, and planned on going in there after hitting on the seventh hole.
"Mine was really falling apart," he said. "We played a few holes and we came by the thrift shop. I said I'm going to run in here for a second to see if they have a bag. I'll just hit and then I'll be right back."
Meyer's ball landed four feet from the cup and disappeared, but it didn't cross his mind whether it went in or not -- he was focused on going to the thrift shop. So he went and bought the bag, and rejoined his group on the green.
"We couldn't find my ball," he said. "It was in the hole."
Meyer, a 5 handicap on the par-3 course, put his clubs in his new bag, and his partners reminded him that was first on the tee. So he kept the pitching wedge and the same ball, and did it again. This time they saw the ball roll in.
"I said 'You've got to be kidding me,'" said Meyer, who took the lucky ball out of play after that. "That's how simple it was."
Meyer and his wife have been here three years after he worked for Graybar Electric across the country. He still plays both golf and tennis frequently.
"It's staying in shape," he said.
Meyer shot a 51, his best score on the par-54 course.
"Two 1s really help," he said with a chuckle.
Sadelfeld, a 3 handicap, was playing on a reciprocal at Wyndemere Country Club with a regular group. The former Ohio State University baseball player and walk-on on the basketball team made the turn with an uncustomary 39 -- "Just borderline where I get mad," he said.
Sadelfeld and his group got to No. 4 on the White Course -- there are three nine-hole courses at Wyndemere -- and he smacked a 9-iron that headed toward the pin -- and in.
"The wind helped me out a little bit -- it kind of blew it back," Sadelfeld said Wednesday. "We were all excited and high-fiving. I took a picture of me holding the ball. Everything was great, and we moved on."
After two par 4s, the group came to the next par 3 -- both were over water -- and Sadelfeld pulled out an 8-iron, even though the 148-yard hole measured a few yards farther than he usually hit it.
"I need that wind to help me about five or six yards," he told himself.
It did, exactly. The ball went directly into the cup.
"It absolutely went in on the fly and just disappeared," Sadelfeld said. "We all just looked at each other -- that didn't happen again, did it?"
Most of the time when a ball goes right into the cup on the fly from that far out, it'll damage the edge of the cup or something.
"There wasn't a mark," said Sadelfeld, who had made six holes-in-one previously. "It just went straight in the jar and stayed there, which is kind of unusual."
Sadelfeld wanted to see how much further his luck would go.
"I played the lottery that night -- didn't work," he said.
Sadelfeld and his wife both have deep ties with the high schools here. After moving to Naples in 1974, both taught for 32 years before retiring 10 years ago. Joe was a teacher at Lely High School for 11 years, then at Naples High for the next 21, while his wife was at Naples High the whole time.
Sadelfeld got back from a trip to Ohio State earlier this week. He was there for a basketball reunion that head coach Thad Matta has for any former letterwinner. The next day, Sadelfeld went to a baseball luncheon where one of his coaches was inducted into the school's hall of fame.
Sadelfeld was pretty good at baseball. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants, but didn't get to play because it was during the Vietnam War. "I never really got to find out if I was going to make it in baseball or not," he said. "I started teaching and coaching in Ohio and moved here."
Both Meyer and Sadelfeld fulfilled their obligatory hole-in-one duties -- which usually include buying drinks in the clubhouse for everyone. At Bentley Village, the tradition is to buy a case of beer, so Meyer brought in two, head pro Stan Geer said. Sadelfeld was a little more fortunate.
"The guys had a meeting that the second hole-in-one negated me having to buy, so they did it," he said. "That was a relief."
Meyer and Sadelfeld now have something in common, one Sadelfeld thinks golfers can appreciate a little more.
"They get more impressed with something like that that happened," he said. "Non-golfers, they congratulate you and you can tell they are happy for you, but I don't think they quite understand what an amazing thing that is."
Or the odds