During the golf season, 85-year-old Howard Beloved, a longtime Spokane resident, plays out of Harrington (Wash.) Golf and Country Club in eastern Washington. But, as a dedicated snowbird, he spends his winters these days playing Rancho Casa Blanca (RCB), an executive course in Indio, Calif.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, Howard experienced what could only be referred to as a “heavenly event” while playing RCB. He wouldn’t go so far as to label it a miracle, but it was definitely miraculous.
That morning, Howard gave Sandy, his wife of 63 years, a peck on the cheek and repeated his familiar parting words: “I’m gonna get a hole-in-one today, honey!”
Little did he know……
Pulling up to the RCB golf shop in his cart, Howard stopped to check in with Gwen, the pro shop manager. She greeted him, as she does every day, “Hey Howard. They’re all waiting for you on the first tee!”
“Okay, I better get out there,” said Howard. “I don’t wanna be late…again.”
He lived to play Ka-Ching with his RCB golf buddies. The group consisted of seven or eight guys, and today the other competitors in his foursome were John, Mike and Jerry.
Sure enough, the guys were waiting on the tee as Howard arrived. Flashing a big grin, he told them, “I’m not late, I’ve got three minutes. You said 8:30!”
Rifling through his golf bag, Howard located a tee, ball and glove. He gave a quick glance and a wink to his partners and stepped up to the tee, always determined to play his best game, offer some stiff competition and, most importantly, win a couple dollars from each of the guys.
By way of warm-up, he took a couple extra practice swings with his 8-iron, then addressed the ball. He took a big swing (for him), and the ball sailed high and straight, heading directly toward the flag on the 95-yard opening hole. It dropped on the green, and into the shadows of giant palms trees. Howard’s vision hadn’t improved any in the past few years, so he was hoping for feedback from his playing partners about the location, but none of them had seen it land.
So Howard said, “It may be hiding in the flowerbed, or it’s in the pond. Better hit a provisional.”
His provisional tee shot, following the same flight-path, landed on the green in a similar location, but it was still unclear as to where it had stopped. Again he sent a pleading glance toward the guys, but the distance and a shaded green obscured their vision for a second time.
Howard, who has a handicap flag on his cart, was the only one in the group with permission to drive the course. He scurried to the back of the green, stalking those two white balls like Elmer Fudd hunting that wascally wabbit.
He was hoping to find at least one of the red-dotted Titleists to afford him the advantage of the local “free flowerbed drop” rule. The water hazard behind those flowers, however, would not be so forgiving.
Even though poking around the pansies and snapdragons was highly discouraged (then rewarded with a free drop), Howard was not about to leave behind two of his favorite Titleists without giving things a good look.
Finally, he let go of his flowerbed search and turned reluctantly toward the pond. Just then he heard Jerry call out, “Hey Howie, get over here!”
Turning toward the green, Howard saw Jerry waving from the flagstick while Mike and John pointed to the hole, laughing hysterically. Howard hurried across the green, looked to the bottom of the cup, and produced a big smile.
In that hole was his first ball, the Titleist with his personal red-dot markings, and miraculously, the second ball, the provisional, the second Titleist with the same red dots.
Two consecutive holes-in-one on the same hole. Miracle or miraculous, Howard Beloved has gained status in what must be a very small circle of golfers who can boast the same. Among his friends at RCB and Harrington G&CC, he is now known simply as “The Howard – The Legend.”