80-year-old Sacramento man sinks 13th ace

George Beach
Ancil Hoffman Golf Course | Facebook
80-year-old George Beach signs his hole-in-one form at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course near Sacramento after sinking the 13th ace of his career.
By
Steve Pajak
The Sacramento Bee

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 | 1:09 p.m.

When you've made as many holes in one (13) as George Beach, the explanation goes far beyond luck.

There's longevity: He's played for 66 years. There's skill: He's been a single-digit handicapper most of that time. There's a love of the game: He fought back from a torn rotator cuff and pneumonia that combined to cost him a year of playing time over the past three years.

Maybe most importantly, there's a relentless positive attitude. "My game is coming around," he said. "I can feel it."

Earlier this month, Beach aced the 162-yard fifth hole at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course, giving him a hole in one on each of the course's four par 3s; five if you count the old and new greens on No. 14.

Beach, 80, used a 3-hybrid on the chilly, windy morning.

INSTRUCTION: Add distance, accuracy with proper grip pressure | Hit the appropriate shot

"I gripped down half an inch," he said. "It was one of the most beautiful shots I've hit in my life. A little left of the pin, landed about 6 feet short, rolled into the shadow of the flagstick and into the hole."

Although Beach started playing at age 14, the native Sacramentan didn't make his first ace until he was 49 -- on Thanksgiving Day at Diamond Oaks.

"The turkey tasted good that year," he said.

Five of his aces have come in tournament play. All of his Ancil Hoffman aces have come in the past 11 years. He bettered his age on the day of his most recent "1," shooting a 79.

Beach was off for seven months in 2014 while rehabbing his right shoulder. He lost five months and 20 pounds last year when pneumonia landed him in the hospital. Pushing himself in his comeback, he was taken from Ancil Hoffman in an ambulance when some thought he had a heart attack (it was dehydration).

"I come from the Vince Lombardi era," said Beach, who spent 12 years in Wisconsin, referencing the late Green Bay Packers coach known for his lack of sympathy toward injured players. "Have a broken leg? Too bad. The game isn't over."

Beach plays three times a week, twice at Ancil Hoffman. He's committed to exercise and diet so he can keep swinging. He may have another ace up his sleeve, but his positive vibe is guaranteed.

"I couldn't be any more fortunate," he said.