RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- By his own admission, Jack Gosch's front nine at the Sunrise Country Club earlier this week was nothing special.
That all changed in a hurry.
He aced the 10th hole. And then on the 11th -- bingo! -- another hole in one.
"I've never gotten more congratulations for anything in my life,'' the 74-year-old Gosch said Thursday, three days after his amazing feat. "The word spreads fast in the golf community.''
After what he called his worst front nine at Sunrise since October, Gosch used a driver to ace the 204-yard, par-3 10th hole. He followed that up by hitting an 8-iron into the hole on the 135-yard, par-3 11th.
And there was no disputing that it really happened, either. Playing in his foursome was Jerry Seeman, the senior director of officiating in the NFL for 10½ years until his retirement in June 2001.
"It was incredible,'' Seeman said. "The beauty of it all is they were just very good golf shots -- nothing fluky. I've never had a hole in one myself, I think I've seen three other ones. This was absolutely phenomenal.''
Sunrise is an executive course, with 10 par 4s and eight par 3s -- a 3,837-yard, par-64 layout.
Gosch has an 11 handicap at Sunrise and a 17 handicap otherwise. The retired auto dealership owner shot a 90 at the par-72 Thunderbird Country Club on Thursday -- a fairly typical day on the links for him.
"I get a 7, then I get a par,'' he said with a laugh.
Previously, Gosch had one hole in one -- on the 116-yard, par-3
second hole at Sunrise nearly two years ago.
Gosch said he took an easy swing on No. 10, and the ball hit right in front of the green before rolling in the hole.
"I turned around to Jerry and said, 'I don't see the ball.' He said, `I heard it hit something,''' Gosch said. "I said, 'I don't see it.' We get up there, and it's in the hole.
"No. 11, the pin was located right behind a trap. I decided to go off to the right, play it safe. I took a practice swing, I started to hit it, I thought, 'Why am I doing that? Why don't I just go for it?' So I adjusted my stance, lined up to hit it directly at the pin.''
Gosch said he hit the ball over the trap, it bounced twice on the green and went in the hole.
"The feeling was one of disbelief, really, for all four of us,'' Gosch said. "We kind of stood around and didn't say much of anything. We were all kind of, 'My gosh.'
"Once we got back to the clubhouse, the real golfers became excited. The pros couldn't believe it. Everybody was just very excited.''
Scott Burr, the head professional at Sunrise, said he had heard of people making two holes-in-one on the same round.
"But never back-to-back,'' Burr said. "Unbelievable.''
Gosch said he played golf about once a year "and shot about 130'' before undergoing hip replacement surgeries six months apart in 1997.
"I took up golf because I couldn't play tennis,'' he said. "I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought I'd play golf -- tennis was my game.
"Once I got started, I was hooked.''
Now, he plays about five times a week.
"He was still in shock when he got home, almost nonchalant,'' said Gosch's wife, Gwen.
"I told her, well, I had a good game, a hole in one,'' Gosch said. "And, I said, it got even better.''