Topanga Kosterbok hits hole-in-one!
Thirteen-year-old Barrhead schoolgirl joins golf's most exclusive club
Her pink golf ball has “BELIEVE” written on it.
However, 13-year-old Topanga Kosterbok could scarcely believe what happened at the fifth hole at Paddle River Golf & Country Club last Thursday.
After swinging her 9 iron, she felt she had hit a good tee shot, but how could she be sure? The layout of the 119-yard hole makes it impossible to see the green, so she would just have to wait. So would eight-year-old brother Cody, who was playing the first five holes, and had seen the pink ball arc away tantalizingly from view.
When they reached the green and couldn’t see the ball, Topanga’s first thought was “oh no, I’ve overhit my approach.” Good as she is, it is something she has a tendency to do.
“I began looking behind the green, but couldn’t find it,” she said. “I then had the ridiculous idea that it was in the hole. When I saw it I was a little bit shaky, to be honest. I was so surprised.”
Just at that moment her mother, Mariet, the pro shop attendant, came out to ask Topanga whether she was hungry enough for pizza. The timing was almost comical.
How was she to know that pizza could not have been further from her daughter’s mind?
“She told me that she had just got a hole-in-one,” she said. “It was so incredible. I suppose we were both a little shocked. Naturally I completely forgot about the pizza.”
It was an emotional moment for mother and daughter. Cody, too, was stunned by his sister’s achievement. Nobody this year has hit a hole-in-one at Paddle River.
Remarkably, Topanga managed to retain her composure. After a brief pause, she returned to the fairways to complete the remaining four holes of the 2,399-yard course. Even with the magic moment at the fifth swirling in her mind, she held her game together for an impressive round of 39, which included a monster putt on the ninth.
Her playing partner in the closing holes was full of praise for the Grade 8 Barrhead Composite High School student.
“She was putting like a pro and her driving was unbelievable,” he said. “Everything was working for her.”
Topanga’s hole-in-one was recorded on a board outside the clubhouse. She was also presented with a special plaque which contained her scorecard, pink ball, and a small plate inscribed with the date of her achievement.
Although a hole-in-one requires an element of luck, it cannot be achieved without skill.
Over the last year Topanga’s game has improved enormously, both technically and mentally, and she now has a handicap of 10. This summer she has been playing two rounds of golf every day, except weekends, working on every aspect of her game.
She credits Paddle River greens keeper Tracy Pess, who has a handicap of -1, for her progress.
“He has helped me a lot, giving me lessons,” she said.
Mariet, a good golfer herself with a handicap of 11, said Pess had spotted Topanga’s potential almost right away.
“He said ‘look at her swing. She could turn into a really good player.’”
She added: “Topanga first hit a ball when she was about five, but it was only three years ago she got her first full set of clubs and began playing seriously. I am very proud of her and believe she is going to go really far.”
How far it is impossible to say with someone so young, of course. One short-term ambition is to qualify for the Tour Championship – Wolf Creek GR in Ponoka (McLennan Ross Sun Junior Golf Tour), if not this year then in 2013.
To do so this year, she will have to excel in an Aug. 13 qualifying tournament in Stony Plain. That is a tall order.
For now Topanga is fully entitled to rest on her hole #5 laurels.
According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, the odds of an average golfer hitting a hole-in-one are 12,000 to 1.
At just 13, Topanga has enjoyed a feeling many golfers will never experience in a lifetime.
Who would bet against her beating the odds again?
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