Sylvia Sabin made her first hole in one Thursday. Sabin aced the par-3 third hole at Diamond Oaks. She used a driver from 89 yards.
One arm wasn't tied behind her back to show off for her husband, Richard, her playing partner that day, but for all the good it did her, it might as well have been.
Sabin's left arm hasn't been of much use to her since a 2002 car accident prompted thoracic outlet syndrome, multiple surgeries and a combination of pain, numbness, tingling and weakness caused by pressure on the nerves or blood vessels that pass into the arms from the neck.
It's certainly no help in swinging a golf club.
"My hand would turn blue," she said.
So Sabin, 64, swings with just her right arm.
She starts every hole no farther than 150 yards from the green. She uses mostly lofted woods and an old-fashioned chipper. She laughs a lot and enjoys the game even more than the three years she played between taking up golf at 50 and before her accident.
"I don't take things so seriously," she said. "I get in a bunker, I throw it out. I have fun. I don't worry about lousy shots."
Sabin, a Granite Bay resident, credits Ruben Samaniego for helping get her game back and her attitude. Samaniego was a local teaching professional who took joy in working with physically challenged golfers. Samaniego, who died of stomach cancer in 2007 at 64, worked with Sabin in 2005.
"Ruben taught me that you're out there to enjoy yourself and have fun so that you want to come back," she said. "I usually don't keep score. That's not important to me. What's important is to enjoy the round and the people that I'm with."
Sabin said she isn't going to be embarrassed by the hole-in-one listing saying she used a driver from such a relatively short distance. Swinging with one arm is harder than it looks, she said, adding that those who try it after watching her "usually blip it about five yards in front of them."
Richard tried to re-create the ace the next day at Diamond Oaks using one arm from the same tee his wife used.
"He hit it into the lake," Sabin said, cackling, of course.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Steve Pajak
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.