Over the past 50 years, it’s only happened six times. But for veteran golfer Sandy Bunting, every time she lands a hole-in-one, it's just as special as the first one she sunk back 1981.
That was the case when Bunting landed her sixth career hole-in-one just last week, knocking in a shot on the 12th hole at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club in Dagsboro for her first hole-in-one shot on what she now considers her home course.
“Each one is just as awesome as the one before, because you just can’t believe that it’s happened to you,” said Bunting.
The shot from 102 yards out was on a Par 3 and, interestingly enough, came about on a day when Bunting had accidentally left two of her irons back at home, one of which she said she would have otherwise been using.
“I try for a hole-in-one every time I’m on a Par 3,” Bunting said, noting that, instead of an iron, she opted for her 6 hybrid. “I didn’t have the club I would have used, but that one worked perfectly.”
Facing a sand trap in front the green, Bunting sent a high shot that she had a feeling had dropped right down near the hole but that she wasn’t sure went in until she, Joy Koons and Donna Murray went to investigate.
“We couldn’t see it go in — we had to walk up to the green before we knew for sure,” Bunting explained. “We all almost got chills. We started cheering.”
While the shot was the first hole-in-one anyone has made at Cripple Creek in more than a year, Bunting said that the support for members of the “hole-in-one club” spreads throughout the Cripple Creek community, with each hole-in-one resulting in a $600 credit at the pro shop and ensuing celebration at the club.
“Everybody’s excited for you, because it’s not something you get every day,” she said. “We all try for it, but it’s always a surprise when it happens.”
Bunting’s first hole-in-one came in 1981, while playing a course in the Outer Banks of North Carolina while on vacation. She didn’t get her next one until almost 20 years later, while playing a course near the Bay Bridge in 2000, until going on a hole-in-one run and racking up three of them at Sussex Pines in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Incidentally, that’s the course where she started her golf career in 1967 and where she’s earned 13 club championships.
Her other accolades on the links include two club championships at Cripple Creek and one at Ocean Pines. She was inducted into the Eastern Shore Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.
While Bunting has big plans for the future of her golf career and won’t be slowing down any time soon, with a tournament at Cripple Creek coming up on Oct. 27, for now, she’s enjoying something that she knows doesn’t come along very often and is special when it does.
“I’ve just been a very lucky person,” she said. “Life has been very good to me, I can tell you.”