Beverage cart girl sinks improbable ace at Sweetgrass Golf Club at the Island Resort in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Sarah DeShambo attempted to play the first 18-hole round of her life at Sweetgrass Golf Club at the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Mich., but only made it through 15 holes.
Most golfers playing their first round quit out of frustration. The 21-year-old Yooper – someone from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – quit out of pure exhilaration. DeShambo, a beverage cart driver at the course, did the improbable on Aug. 10, sinking an ace at the intimidating 15th hole.
It was the first hole-in-one at the course’s signature island green (seen below) since the stellar Paul Albanese-designed course opened in 2008. None of the LPGA Futures Tour players who competed in the Island Resort Championship in late June came close to DeShambo’s miracle shot from 107 yards (the red tees).
DeShambo estimated she’d played just 11 holes of golf in her life - two nine-hole rounds she quit early - before her miraculous moment at Sweetgrass. True to her rookie status, she broke just about every hole-in-one rule along the way. DeShambo is so new to golf she had to verify what club she hit, a 7 iron, for our interview.
“It was the worst form ever, horrible,” she said, re-enacting the swing in the small snack shop near the first tee.
DeShambo said none of the four other co-workers in her group saw the ball go in the cup except her. Reaching Turtle Island, as the green is called, is not easy, even for the most seasoned player.
“I told everybody that my ball went in the hole, but Josh (Riley, a summer intern in the golf shop) told me it didn’t, so I thought he must be right. I went to putt a ball behind the hole. It (my putt) got close to the hole when I noticed, ‘My ball isn’t a Titleist.’ I looked in the hole, and mine was in there.
“I started screaming and being ridiculous. No one believed me. Then they came over. They kept hugging me, like 40 times.”
As soon as she got back to the cart, she called her grandma, who has been playing the game for more than 50 years. DeShambo said she was “way too excited to play golf anymore” for several holes afterward and took a break, another no-no to make a hole-in-one official.
She unwisely teed her magic ball up again on No. 18, a water-logged par-5 where she rinsed her tee shot into the pond. “I don’t even have my hole-in-one ball anymore,” she lamented. She finished her day with zero pars and “lots of double bogeys.”
Back at the casino, she refused to pay for a round of drinks for her five-some, the customary way to celebrate. Instead, strangers and co-workers foot the bill during a tour of the casino’s bars. “Why should I pay for a round? I’m the one who had the hole-in-one,” she said. “A lot of people bought me drinks. We were all over the place (in the casino).”
DeShambo said she might start playing more golf once she returns to school at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, where she’ll be a senior who studies bio chemistry. “I like golf. I’d like to play more,” DeShambo said. “One of the girls in my bio class is on the golf team. They don’t have many golfers. It’s not really competitive. I might do that.”
She continues to get grief from golfers who have played their whole lives and never sniffed a hole-in-one. This has to be the most improbable hole-in-one I’ve come across in my 20 years covering the game. I’ve written about a 5-year-old Michigan boy’s hole-in-one and covered Lee Trevino’s million-dollar ace at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, but this story beats them all.
“I think it’s pure luck, and I still can’t believe it. Nobody else can, either,” she said with a laugh.
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