Acing CSM Foundation’s 20th Golf Classic

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Hole-in-One May Be Elusive off the Tee but not in Scoring Funds for Students

Hitting a hole-in-one for most golfers is a once-in-a-lifetime shot; in fact, the odds according to “Golf Digest” are about 12,000 to 1 on a par-3 golf hole for the average player. However, for local golfer Dave Eicholtz, such a shot is no longer elusive, having aced his on the third hole at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club during a College of Southern Maryland Foundation Golf Classic. That was in 1999 and in the history of CSM Foundation’s signature event, it’s the only ace scored. Instead the aces have been scored for CSM’s students who, through the 20-year course of the golf classic, have benefited from the more than $500,000 raised for scholarships and programs at the college.

The memory remains as fresh today for Eicholtz as if it were yesterday as he recalled the date of Sept. 23, 1999 on a recent afternoon. “It’s still a thrill,” he said, adding that he had played the tournament with Richard Winkler, who at the time was finance director for Charles County Government.

The hole was described in an earlier tournament program: “a lot of the green isn’t apparent from the tee, and there are many different prevailing slopes to contend with when you arrive,” with advice on how to play the hole, “this is a very innocent-looking Par 3 that plays just a little longer than it looks… Using more club than what yardage indicates may seem risky, but the green is plenty deep to accept a long shot. The best target is the center of the green.”

Eicholtz said, “I had a six-iron and when I hit the shot, I didn’t think I had the right club. It rolled out of sight and Richard said, ‘that’s a hole in one—I heard it hit the stick!’”

“I didn’t think so. I went to the back of the green and didn’t see it, but Richard went to the hole and there it was. We had gone past the sign announcing the contest for the hole-in-one on that hole and so I didn’t even know they were giving away money. It is the most fiscally rewarding hole I’ve ever won,” laughed Eicholtz, who is now the chief of budget for Charles County Government.

The hole cost him his amateur status for the two years after the tournament as a result of collecting the associated $5,000 winnings that came with the contest and had been sponsored by Anita and Ted Foote of Foote Title Insurance Agency, Inc.

While the winnings may have been quickly spent, the one-time professional golfer said that the ball remains a treasured memento of the day. “Of course you keep it!” Eicholtz said, as he slowly drew it from his pocket to show off. ”I’ve never hit it again; I’d be afraid I’d lose it.”

For Eicholtz, who is 52, golfing has and continues to be a family outing shared with his five siblings on courses in Utah, New Hampshire, Washington and other rotating locations, and with his two children. His son Tom began the game at the age of 8, going on to win at the state level when he competed on McDonough High School’s team and to play for CSM’s golf team in 2003 before transferring to Virginia Tech. He describes his daughter Megan as “more of a fair-weather golfer,” and he’s yet to get a club into his wife Nora’s hand.

“When you can learn the game when you are really young, it’s better. It just comes naturally,” he said. “My dad taught me when I was 10, but it’s never too late to learn,” he said as he recalled his father years later, and before his death this past year, continuing to golf three to four times a week “with my mom who never learned to play golf when I was growing up since she was busy with us six kids, but now does.”

“When I retire, wherever I land, I plan on living on a golf course and being the course champ,” he said with a laugh as he relayed that he’s a pro at losing “buckets-full of balls. Titleist is my favorite ball, but I can play – and lose – any equally well.”

His advice for a golfer, no matter the age or ability, is first and foremost to have the right attitude as you approach the game. “Always have a good time, do your best, and remember you are competing against the course, not other people. It’s important to complete the round and never give up on it. Forget a bad hole and recover—that’s why God made a back nine, to make up for the front nine.”

His advice to anyone shooting to repeat his ace of a dozen years ago, he said, is that “holes-in-one are all luck. Shoot at it but not with the expectation it will go in.” As for Swan Point, “It’s a course I still love to play. Not just because I hit the hole-in-one there, but it’s just a nice course all the way around.”

SIDEBAR

20th Anniversary Tournament to Benefit CSM Students

Now celebrating its platinum anniversary, the CSM Foundation’s Golf Classic will be held Aug. 18 at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club. This year’s goal year is to raise $50,000 for CSM athletic scholarships and programs. Joe O’Neill, of Raley, Watts & O’Neill Insurance and Financial Services, serves as this year’s Golf Committee chair and the Honorable Murray Levy serves as Honorary Committee chair.

For the 10th year, Marrick Homes is the Grand Tournament Sponsor for the event. “The CSM Foundation is fortunate to have many partners, friends and supporters; however, long-time partners such as Marrick Homes are a rare find,” said Michelle Goodwin, CSM vice president of advancement. “We are grateful that Marrick has supported CSM students and programs for more than a decade. They truly understand the impact CSM has on the local workforce and the community that they care so much about.”

Other sponsorships include Raley, Watts & O’Neill Insurance and Financial Services and Community Bank of Tri-County hosting $10,000 putting contests and Ken Dixon Automotive, All American Harley-Davidson and Hugh C. Gardiner, Inc. hosting hole-in-one contests. Additional sponsors include Quality Built Homes Inc., GenOn Mid-Atlantic LLC, SMECO, and Buddy and Carol Sprague.

The tournament will begin with breakfast sponsored by Chick-fil-A beginning at 7:30 a.m. and followed by a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided by WaWa, Safeway of La Plata and Mamelah’s LLC with a reception including prizes after the tournament concludes. Beverages will be provided to attendees throughout the day by Royalle Services, Inc. and Bozick Distributors, Inc.

Sponsorships and registration are available for the Platinum Anniversary Golf Classic. The CSM golf team, who recently competed at the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II men’s national golf tournament, will also be taking part in the classic. For information on sponsorships or to register for the tournament contact Erika Abell at 301-934-7647 or eabell1@csmd.edu or visit www.csmd.edu/Foundation/GolfClassic.

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