Don’t bet against Sacramento’s George Beach on par 3s

George Beach
George Beach

When you’ve made as many holes in one (13) as George Beach, the explanation goes far beyond luck.

There’s longevity: He’s played for 66 years. There’s skill: He’s been a single-digit handicapper most of that time. There’s a love of the game: He fought back from a torn rotator cuff and pneumonia that combined to cost him a year of playing time over the past three years.

Maybe most importantly, there’s a relentless positive attitude. “My game is coming around,” he said. “I can feel it.”

Earlier this month, Beach aced the 162-yard fifth hole at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course, giving him a hole in one on each of the course’s four par 3s; five if you count the old and new greens on No. 14.

Beach, 80, used a 3-hybrid on the chilly, windy morning.

“I gripped down half an inch,” he said. “It was one of the most beautiful shots I’ve hit in my life. A little left of the pin, landed about 6 feet short, rolled into the shadow of the flagstick and into the hole.”

Although Beach started playing at age 14, the native Sacramentan didn’t make his first ace until he was 49 – on Thanksgiving Day at Diamond Oaks.

“The turkey tasted good that year,” he said.

Five of his aces have come in tournament play. All of his Ancil Hoffman aces have come in the past 11 years. He bettered his age on the day of his most recent “1,” shooting a 79.

Beach was off for seven months in 2014 while rehabbing his right shoulder. He lost five months and 20 pounds last year when pneumonia landed him in the hospital. Pushing himself in his comeback, he was taken from Ancil Hoffman in an ambulance when some thought he had a heart attack (it was dehydration).

“I come from the Vince Lombardi era,” said Beach, who spent 12 years in Wisconsin, referencing the late Green Bay Packers coach known for his lack of sympathy toward injured players. “Have a broken leg? Too bad. The game isn’t over.”

Beach plays three times a week, twice at Ancil Hoffman. He’s committed to exercise and diet so he can keep swinging. He may have another ace up his sleeve, but his positive vibe is guaranteed.

“I couldn’t be any more fortunate,” he said.

Gift ideas

Ken Morton Jr., the director of retail at the Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop, provides two gift suggestions that show you care without breaking the bank.

For women: Arm sleeves. They not only provide sun protection but now also cool when wet. Not overly romantic, but no one can argue that protection against sun damage isn’t thoughtful.

For men: Titleist Pro V1 balls. Titleist is the top-selling ball, and you can’t go wrong with Pro V1s. “Everyone can use more ammo,” Morton said.

Et cetera

▪ Chico’s Kurt Kitayama tied for 42nd in the final stage of Tour qualifying, giving him preferred status early in the 2017 season. Davis’ Tyler Raber tied for 126th in the 155-player field, giving him conditional status.

▪ Rocklin’s Lynne Cowan is the 2016 Northern California Golf Association Senior Women’s Player of the Year. Cool’s Karen Garcia finished second.

▪ El Dorado Hills’ Bob Niger is recovering from surgery on his right wrist that kept him out of the Champions Tour qualifying tournament.

Steve Pajak: 916-326-5526, @Steve_Pajak