Whitworth golf coach does it on the same hole, in the same tournament, two years in a row
by Warren Friedrichs
From time to time when playing golf with different people, golfers tell some of their unique experiences. When I tell the story of my experience at a tournament in Las Vegas, I usually get the response, “You need to get that story to Golf Digest! The statistical odds of doing that are astronomical.” Well, here is my story.
I was the men’s basketball coach at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. for 16 years. I decided to resign my coaching position in order to be able to watch my son play his high school basketball career. I continued working at Whitworth doing more teaching and administration.
A year later, Whitworth athletic director Scott McQuilkin asked if I would be willing to start a men’s and women’s golf program. Whitworth had competed in men’s golf from 1971 to 1983 but had dropped the program. Whitworth had never had a women’s golf team. I agreed to develop the golf program.
In the year it took me to develop the program and find some competitive golf recruits, I asked longtime golf coach at Spokane Community College, Paul Tikker, for lots of advice. During our discussions, Paul mentioned to me that a good place to learn more about coaching golf was with a golf tournament and clinic that the Professional Golfers Career College held each year in Las Vegas. I decided to go and attend the two-day golf tournament and clinic sessions with Paul. The tournament was in July and it was hot.
The first year I attended, the tournament took place on two different courses – Boulder Creek GC and Boulder City Golf Course. On the first day, we played Boulder Creek. One of our last holes for our round in the shotgun start was the fifth hole on the Desert Hawk nine, a par-5 of 508 yds. The tee shot needed to stay short of a dry creek bed that intersected the fairway about 240 yards from the tee. A good drive had me positioned to go for the green. The green is fronted by a steep slope but my hard hit 3-wood rolled up the bank, onto the green and was slowly creeping toward the hole. I turned to other players in my group as my ball was next to the hole when I heard one of them say, “It went in!” I looked up and the ball had disappeared. It was a double eagle 2 – my first ever. A memorable golf shot, for sure.
A year later, Paul and I decided to attend the tournament again. Both rounds of the event were to be played at the Boulder Creek course. We had used a shotgun start that morning and I had started my round on the hole after the memorable par-5, so that meant that the par-5 would be my last hole of the day. On the tee box of our last hole – the par-5 – I could not help but mention to my playing partners what had happened the year before on this hole.
After a good tee shot put me about five yards from the same position I was the year before when I holed out, I got an eerie feeling. The flag was located on the back left corner of the green on a raised shelf on the green. The wind was blowing into us and from the left. I decided to go at the pin with my 3-wood thinking the wind would knock the ball down into the middle of the green but still could leave me with a long 2-putt for a birdie finish. The 3-wood was hit solid and when I looked up, it was drawing into the wind. It held its line going directly at the flag, then hit the rise of the back shelf and headed toward the hole. From the fairway, we could not see the top shelf of the green but assumed it would have to be somewhere close to the hole.
After driving our carts up next to the green, one of players yelled out, “Your ball is not on the back fringe,” and then he took a peak in the cup and hollered, “You did it again!” Yep, another double eagle 2 on the very same hole as the year before. I played the hole twice and had two double eagles.
Boulder Creek gave me a flag from the course where I was able to record the dates of both double eagles. I have it hanging in my office at Whitworth.
The tournament was discontinued the following year and I have not been back to play Boulder Creek. I play a lot of my summer golf at Wandermere GC in Spokane and have not been close to a double eagle since.
Since resurrecting Whitworth University’s men’s and women’s golf programs in 2003, Warren Friedrichs has led the men’s team to five Northwest Conference titles and has been named NWC Men’s Coach of the Year four times. In 2010, the women’s team shared the conference title. Friedrichs was also the men’s basketball coach at Whitworth for 16 years, where his teams won five conference titles, while being named the conference’s Coach of the Year five times and the NAIA Division II Coach of the Year in 1996. He was inducted into the Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame in 2011.