It was a Cinderella Story. This young lady from Toronto, Ontario, Canada hardly burst upon the scene. She just flew in under the radar and now is almost a household name (at least at the Antlers…for one day…in the lobby).
Her name is Stella Dasko. She has only been playing the game of Golf for 8 years and that said, not with a lot of consistency or cemented scheduling. “John and I love the game and we don’t take ourselves too seriously” is what she would say about herself and her husband of 33 years. They have been Antlers owners since 1985 and visit as often as they can. Last week they made another memory.
She stood on the majestic 15th tee box at Vail Muny Golf Course and readied her 7 iron on the 115 yard, downhill, par 3. It was one of those picture perfect days in our picture perfect valley. John, who was standing on the back tee box with Ken from Pennsylvania and Pat from Boulder (witnesses) said “I think I’ll take a picture.” He caught Stella aligning her shot and thinking to herself “just be the ball. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.” None of them had ever seen what they were about to witness.
John was on the tee box above. Stella was stoic and full of concentration.
She was ready. The perfect back swing. Hips forward on the down swing. Arms straight and square with her shoulders at impact. Follow through and RELEASE! The Titleist is air born and the ball flight is on a perfect trajectory to the flag, or is it?
How did you feel after you hit it? “I wasn’t sure it was going to get over the Gore Creek and it wouldn’t be the first time I got a ball wet on this hole.”
The pin was forward this particular day and there wasn’t a lot of room between the creek and the flag. In other words, no room for error. The little white orb was back dropped by the Colorado blue sky as it traveled for what seemed like minutes. The distance needed to stay dry was still a question mark. One of the guys watching the ball flight on the back tee muttered to himself, “get there.”
John shouted down to Stella, who was still holding her finish (much like the famous photo of Ben Hogan on the last hole of the his last U S Open victory) “Looks good Stella. That’s all over it.” (An understatement.)
The little white ball hits the green just in front of the flag stick. It bounces once than twice, and rolls to the edge of the cup…..and falls in the hole.
BINGO! The crowd went crazy. “It’s in the hole. Holy smokes. It’s in the hole. It’s in the hole” could be heard all around the golf course and the nearby bike path.
Congratulations Stella for an accomplishment that many of us hacks wait an entire lifetime for. I know I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting…..
Pluck the ball, place the flag and move on.
(Note: Although I wasn’t there that day to be witness, I was fortunate to play with the happy couple on Friday. Stella is solid and grounded. We were all approaching the green on the par 5, eighth hole. I was in the trap on the right, John was in the trap on the left and Stella was walking around aimlessly looking for her ball. She was on the back side of the green looking in the rough. “It was a good shot” she said. “I thought it was on the green.” We all started looking. Stella said “maybe it didn’t make the green. I’ll check the front.” She walked by the flag stick and said “never mind. I found it. It’s in the hole.” No kidding.