You think maybe Wally Stanley is getting the hang of this game?
The former superintendent of the Central Valley School District took up golf in retirement a little more than two years ago and on Wednesday made his second hole-in-one, this one at The Links Golf Club in Post Falls – and said he was “a little embarrassed to admit it.”
“You should see the rest of my game,” he said, sheepishly.
Well, yes, we probably should. Stanley, 61, was left a paraplegic when he was hit while jogging by a drunk driver 21 years ago. His constant golfing companion is a “SoloRider,” a single-person cart with a swivel seat which allows him to sit and hit – though to keep a proper balance, Stanley swings at the ball with just one arm.
He plays a couple of times each week – with a regular group at Twin Lakes and at various Valley courses – but he was alone at the Links on Wednesday when he reached the 155-yard fourth hole.
“There was a greenskeeper on the tee doing some repair,” Stanley said. “I just motored up and hit my ball, but I didn’t really see it – I had my head down. The kid was there and said, ‘I think that might have gone in,’ and I said, ‘It couldn’t be.’ But when I went down and looked, there it was.”
It wasn’t all that different from the shot he hit at Chester Creek a year ago April. He lost sight of that one, too, and when his wife, Nancy, tapped in her par putt, she found Wally’s ball already in the hole.
But Wednesday’s ace led to a round of 89 – “by far the best I’ve ever had,” Stanley said. “I’ve only broken 100 a couple of times. This time I went 42-47 – and the 47 is more typical, believe me.”
Stanley said he didn’t have the time or inclination to take up the game when he was still working, but was steered to it in retirement by a female professional in Arizona who showed him some of the adaptive equipment that was available. Among those are “Totin’ Bones” clubs made by Bang Golf that he had fitted locally.
“But I just bought some clubs off the rack to fill in and I do about as well with those,” said Stanley, who noted the ace was made with a ladies’ 5-iron.
So, at the rate of one hole-in-one a year, Stanley should be in double figures before he turns 70, right?
“No, I think it’s all downhill from here,” he laughed.