A retired pastor made an ace on his last par 3 before quitting golf, and a prayer may have helped
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A retired pastor made an ace on his last par 3 before quitting golf, and a prayer may have helped


Pastor Dr. Carl Hobbs was standing on the tee at the par-3 eighth at Chatata Valley Golf Course, about to play the final one-shotter of his golf life.

In the fading Oct. 29 daylight, his partner and fellow pastor, Edwin Lipsey of South Cleveland (Tenn.) Church of God, offered up a silent prayer.

"Lord, this old man (Carl is 77), is retiring his clubs," Lipsey said, supposedly joking. "Let him hit a great shot. In fact, let him have a hole-in-one."

Hobbs' 7-wood tee shot was a good one, but it was too dark to see the ball land, so the foursome went to the green to see the results. Playing partner Jody Elrod had hit a great shot, too, and the foursome came to the putting surface to see a ball 3 feet from the hole. Lipsey then walked even closer and spied a ball in the cup.

Hobbs and Elrod were playing the same Nike golf balls, but Hobbs' ball didn't have a red mark on it, and that was the one at the bottom of the cup. For Hobbs, who was walking away from the game at 75 due to health complications, it was his third-ever hole-in-one. (He also has an albatross in his 37 years of golf.)

"There was some yelling, and jumping around," said Lipsey to the Cleveland Banner.

At the start of the round, Hobbs, who retired 10 years ago as the South Cleveland associate pastor, told his playing partners this final day of the Golfing With the Bishop church league would be his last round. He made his ace on a course which was ravaged by two tornadoes on April 27, 2011.

"I have often mused whether God has a favorite NFL team, or even cares who wins the World Series," he said.

That's one amazing way to go out in golf, doing it with an ace -- on his wedding anniversary, no less.


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About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com