Down the fairway: Hopkins gets a hole-in-one on par 4 at Amsterdam Municipal
Bruce Hopkins has been playing golf for over four decades, and he has accomplished more than his fair share of notable achievements on the Links. But the highlight of the Fort Johnson resident, 54, is now arguably to be defined by dynamic swing.
Hopkins, vice president of corporate technology for TD Bank, recently recorded one of the rarest strokes in golf when he landed the 12th par 4 hole at the Amsterdam municipal golf course. This hole is 337 yards in length, although Hopkins estimated he was more likely playing around 310 yards that day.
âI was using an old Callaway driver that I had several years ago,â said Hopkins, who has played Amsterdam Municipal since the age of 12. âI was playing with my good friend Jim Geiger, and we always joke about the drivers because I end up with a lot of former Jim drivers. He usually looks at me and tells me which stick and what type of pilot I should use.
Hopkins, a former scratch golfer, hasn’t played much due to his shifting schedule.
âI hadn’t played for 10 months and I wasn’t trying to hit the green,â he said. âWhen I was younger I was on the tee long enough, but I wasn’t trying to hit the green that day. I aimed to the left of the fairway, and shot into the lunge, near the maple. I said, ‘Hey, this is a pretty good road.’ So Jim and the other two guys in the group all started and we all rode down the fairway together. When we got over the hill, the group on the green told us the ball was in the hole. I started to laugh.
At first, Hopkins didn’t believe what had happened.
âI said they probably put it in the hole, and I thought it was pretty humorous, but Rick Cetnar was on the green with Mike Pepe and Joe DeMars. If Mike hadn’t said that it was in the hole, I would have been wary. Plus there were three ladies on the 13th tee cheering, so I thought it was really a hole-in-one, “Hopkins said.
It was the first hole in one for the Amsterdam native, who is no stranger to impressive golfing exploits.
âI was a scratch golfer at one point,â he said. âMy handicap is now around 8. It was a 7 last year, but I only played about seven rounds because I injured my ankle and couldn’t play for the rest of the year. I would say that when I decide to play more golf in the next two or three weeks, my handicap will probably drop to around 5. It is easy to have a low handicap when you play the same course all the time.
Despite his stellar achievements, Hopkins finished with a ho-hum – for him – 80 that day, but he had much better scores, including a career-best 68 at Amsterdam Municipal. He also posted a 67 to Rolling Hills at Antlers a year while he was a member there from 2000 to 2004.
âI am very familiar with both courses,â he said.
âAt one point I was Amsterdam City champion in Amsterdam Municipal and club champion in Antlers, but that was a long time ago. I don’t think Danny Russo or Bob Cantine played in these events when I played. Danny and I know each other very well. He is the best golfer I have ever seen out of this region. Bob was my golf coach when I played for high school in Amsterdam.
Hopkins still maintains that the hole-in-one isn’t his most notable golfing moment.
“I would always say the club championship is my best moment,” he said. âThe thing with the hole in one is that he’s pretty lucky. I hit the ball in the right spot and had a good rebound and a good roll. Rick told me the next morning that he was upset because he was putting the ball on the green. He ended up missing his putt as my ball entered. I have been very lucky.
To put it in perspective, the odds for an average golfer of a hole-in-one are 12,000 to 1, according to the National Hole-in-One Registry. But the odds of an albatross, or double eagle, on a par 4 are between 1 million to 1 and 6 million to 1. Quite high odds.
âIt’s a great feeling, and I’m glad I finally got my hole in one shot,â Hopkins said. âWhen I was very young I put the ball on the edge of the hole once, and hit the pin another time but never got one. I guess this one is a bit special because you have to be long enough to even put the ball on the green. Jim and I were joking, wondering if there had ever been a hole-in-one on a par 4 in Amsterdam Muni. I haven’t heard of it, but I know we have a lot of people who can hit the ball far here, so there probably was.
I was saddened to learn that longtime Edison Club member Earl “Sonny” Skiff passed away earlier this week at the age of 89 in Melbourne, Florida.
Skiff was a former president of the Edison Club and a member of its Hall of Fame. The affable Skiff graduated from Mont Pleasant High School and attended Duke University and Siena College. He was both an outstanding basketball player and golfer whose favorite professional teams were the New York Giants and New York Mets.
Skiff was an excellent golfer who reached the final of the former Schenectady County Amateur Gazette several times when it was played in match play. A year after winning medal honors in qualifying, he lost to future pro Dave Philo.
Don Capuano and his wife, Judy, have been members of the Edison Club for 46 years and have only recently left the club. They are considered unofficial club historians.
âSonny was one of the funniest guys I have ever met,â Don Capuano said. “Once he was playing golf with Ron Philo [Daveâs brother], and Sonny was not known to have the best golf attire. Ron told him he had a pair of shoes at his driving range that Sonny could borrow, and Sonny just laughed and laughed. He was a hell of a guy.
Golf League Secretaries, please note that they must email their results to [emailÂ protected]. Please include the name of the league, the course played and the two best raw scores and the two best net scores.
The annual Troy Invitational, one of the Capital Region’s major events for elite enthusiasts, will take place Friday and Saturday at the Country Club in Troy. Jared Nelson, a former Siena College student who now plays for the University of Connecticut, rallied seven shots back to win last year’s event.
Scott Berliner, pro assistant at Saratoga Spa GC, teamed up with Woodstock GC head pro Chris Sanger to win the Northeastern New York PGA Pro-Pro tournament on Tuesday at Albany Country Club with a total of 6 under par, two shots in front of Peter Gerard of Mill Road Acres and his partner John Neet of Normanside CC.
Speaking of Berliner, he will play in the 36-hole US Open sectional qualifying tournament on Monday with Rotterdam native Bryan Bigley and Country Club of Troy member Jack Downey at Century Country Club and Old Oaks. CC to Purchase. Bigley makes his ninth appearance in the sections. The 121st US Open will be held June 17-20 at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.
Eagle Crest Golf Club hosts local qualifying for the New York State Open for pros and amateurs on Thursday.
The Airway Meadows Golf Course will host the first Schuylerville-Greenwich Wrestling Club Golf Tournament, a four-person race on June 26 at 1:30 p.m. Entrance fees are $ 90 per player and include golf and cart , as well as a hot and cold buffet after golf. Call 518-307-7425 for more information.
The McGregor Links Country Club Invitational is scheduled for Friday and Saturday and will consist of three scratch divisions: Championship (gold tees), Senior (50+, white markers) and Super Senior (65+, also white markers) . The format will be 36 holes of four balls. The registration fee is $ 300 per team. Contact Chief Pro Michael Decker at 518-584-6664 for more information.
Briar Creek Golf Course hosts the Bud Light tournament on Friday. The four-man race begins with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Admission is $ 75 per person and includes golf, cart, continental breakfast at 8 a.m., lunch on the turn (burger, hot dog, and beer / soda), and an after-golf buffet dinner. Call the pro shop (518-355-6145) to reserve.
The Schenectady Municipal Golf Course will be offering junior golf camps from June 28 to July 2 and July 5 to 9 at a cost of $ 100 per student. Students will learn the full swing, short game, rules of the game, class etiquette, etc. Lunch will be served daily. The camp operates from 9 a.m. to noon each day. Sign up for the pro shop or call 518-382-3155 for more information.
Tim Ciccone hit the 13th hole for 142 yards with a 6 iron while competing in the CW Players’ League at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
At the Mohawk Golf Club, Howard Edelman hit a driver for his hole-in-one on the 15th 120-yard hole.
Tim Bramer hit the second hole in Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club.
Sue Mooradian of the Country Club of Troy passed the first 406-yard par 5 (for women) hole in an interclub tournament at Mohawk Golf Club this week.
Contact Bob Weiner at [emailÂ protected].
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