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After 73 years of golf, Ashland man enjoys first ace

At age 84, Nicholas Frank has 73 years of golfing experience.


His tale of longevity is a gripping story in itself. His time spent playingthe game makes his significant accomplishments as a golfer pale in comparison.

He's living proof that golf is a game for a lifetime.

Frank's golf game peaked in 1969 when he was a scratch golfer at GatesPark Golf Club in Waterloo, Iowa.

That may be the highlight of his golf career, but the hole-in-one hemade Monday at Oak Knoll Golf Course in Ashland is a close second.

After many close calls in 73 years, he finally scored his first hole-in-oneon the 153-yard 13th hole at Oak Knoll.

Since Monday was a relatively slow day for play at Oak Knoll, Frank didn'thave to buy drinks for many golfers around the course ­ a traditionwhen a golfer gets an ace.

It was a beautiful, pure shot, says Warren Moser, who wasplaying in Frank's foursome with Joe Tilson and Bill Foster and saw theball roll into the hole. He's just a grand old gentleman.

Frank, who retired and moved to Ashland eight years ago and lives justoff the first hole at Oak Knoll, says he still plays to approximately a10 handicap, although he doesn't play in tournaments or post scores at thisstage of his career.

His friends say he shoots his age, or less, approximately 20 percentof the time.

Almost without fail, Frank plays golf every Monday, Wednesday and Fridaywith friends who also live on the edge of the course.

Frank, a former Waterloo city golf champion, says he's glad to stillbe playing and doesn't get upset when he has a bad round or hits a bad shot.

But when he hits a good shot, like he did last Monday, he relishes it.Frank hit what he terms a solid 5-iron. His Top Flite No. 2golf ball is being sent to the company for mounting on a trophy that willbe returned to him in a few weeks.

It's about time I made a hole-in-one, says Frank. Fiveof my six children had all made them, and I hadn't made one in 73 years.I've been all over the hole and come so close many times.

Since Frank has trouble seeing shots that fly farther than 100 yards,he didn't have the pleasure seeing his ace drop.

I wish I had been able to see it go in, but I'm still very happy,he says.

He says he once hit a tee shot in a tournament at Gates Park in Waterloo,but the ball stuck between the edge of the hole and the flagstick. The ballwas lodged against the flag above the lip of the hole but wouldn't dropinto the cup.

Golf rule 17-4 says: If the ball rests against the flagstick whenit is in the hole, the player, or another person authorized by him, maymove or remove the flagstick, and if the ball falls into the hole, the playershall be deemed to have holed out with his last stroke.

Otherwise if the ball moves outside the hole, it shall be replaced onthe lip of the hole without penalty.

Rule 16 covers the definition of a holed ball. It says: A ballis holed when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole, and allof it is below the lip of the hole.

THE ROGUE VALLEY STROKE PLAY Championship, formerly known as the MedfordCity Golf Championship, is Aug. 23-24 at Cedar Links Golf Course.

There are divisions for men, women and senior men. The entry fee is $65and includes a practice round. All players must have USGA handicaps.

IN THE 10-YEAR HISTORY of the Rogue Valley Country Club Women's TeamScramble Tournament, no player had scored a hole-in-one. But that all changedthis week.

Tricia Hoffman and Sharon Schnakenberg both recorded aces in the tournament.Hoffman made a hole-in-one on the 123-yard ninth hole with a 6-iron. Itwas her first ace.

Schnakenberg made a hole-in-one on the 107-yard fourth hole with a 9-iron.It was her second in 25 years of golf.

WISE TIP OF THE WEEK: RVCC head professional Jim Wise focuses this weekon the value of practicing your short game:

Often, we do not have a lot of time to practice our golf game eventhough one of the keys to improving is quality practice time, saysWise. I see many players hitting balls on the driving range and workingon their woods and long irons.

This kind of practice is great for that part of your game, butwe all need to realize that 60 to 65 percent of our shots are made fromwithin 50 yards of the green.

If we want to improve our scores, we need to spend 60 to 65 percentof our practice time on those shots (long pitch shots, chipping, puttingand sand play). These shots all require good control of distance and directionand that requires practice time to have the feel for the shot. As an instructor,I can help the player with the technique and direction, but the player hasto control the distance through feel. This can only come from good qualitypractice time on your short game.