Joy of Golf at Aramco

It is Thursday, August 22, 2002, there is no humidity and a great day for golf. I had just returned from the States the previous Monday and Rich Crum had e-mailed me to play golf on the weekend. I would be subbing for Gary Propernick in their regular foursome on Thursday and Friday. The starting time of 5:15 was not inviting, but with jet-lag, I figured I would be awake early anyway.

So on Thursday, Rich Crum, Don Nims, John Kretzschmar and I teed off to begin our match. The Rolling Hills golf course in Dhahran has been reduced to 18 holes, from 27 holes due to the construction of the new grass course. The South 9 is no more and the West 9 is now the front side, the East 9 is the back nine. I was not playing particularly well until the seventh hole, a 186-yard par 3. With little wind (also unusual), I selected a 7 iron. I hit what seemed to be a perfect shot right at the pin located on the right side of the brown guarded by the bunker on the right. When it disappeared, it appeared to everyone that it went right in the hole for an ace. But it could have rolled through the brown. Driving up to behind the brown, my ball was nowhere in sight - it must be in the hole! It was, it rolled in dead center.

I was of course thrilled. This was my second at RHCC. The first was at South 6, the blind par 3 (the Dolly hole), so I never saw it.

Aramcons John Kretzschmar, Rich Crum, Greens Sweeper, Byron Hebert, Don Nims
Left to Right: John Kretzschmar, Rich Crum,
Greens Sweeper, Byron Hebert, Don Nims

Friday, August 23 we met at the usual hour and began our match. Playing much better this day; I must have been inspired by the ace yesterday. So when we reached the par 3 seventh hole, I said to myself, let’s make another. Again it was a perfect day for golf, particularly August; little wind and no humidity. This time the pin was on the left side of the brown. Once again I took out my 7 iron and hit it right on the pin. I yelled, "get in the hole!" Unbelievably it went straight in dead center! Another ace on the same hole with the same club two days in a row! What are the odds of this I thought? At that moment I would have loved to run to the store and buy a few Lotto tickets. Rich Crum said it best, "If I hadn't seen it myself, I would not have believed it".

Golf in Saudi Arabia can be very exciting.