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Escanaba CC golfers have twice the hole-in-one fun

Paul DeGrand, left, and Bill Dubord pose on the green with their golf balls after each aced the par-3, No. 8 hole on Saturday, June 27, 2020, at the Escanaba Country Club. According to the national hole-in-one registry, the odds of this happening are 17 million to 1. (Photo courtesy Escanaba Daily Press)

By AUSTIN HEMMINGSON

Escanaba Daily Press

ESCANABA — Paul DeGrand and Bill Dubord were just going for a casual round of golf on morning of June 27 at the Escanaba Country Club.

Or so they thought.

The pair of Michigan State University graduates — with the nicknames Woggs and Dubi — have been golfing together in Delta County for more than 30 years, and have been golfing on Saturdays for about the past five years, but nothing out of normal had ever really happened.

Until that particular Saturday morning.

Joined by Paul’s brother, Dan DeGrand, and Cliff DeSalvo, the foursome teed off at 10:30 and made it to the par-3, No. 8 hole roughly around noon.

Using his 22-degree hybrid, Paul, 60, shot first from the white tees, which makes for a 148-yard shot. The lefty thought he hit a good shot and saw the ball tracking toward the hole, but one of the other guys in the group thought it went over.

After Dan DeGrand and DeSalvo shot, Dubord, 68, used his driver to shoot from the gold tees at 138 yards out and hit what he felt like was a good shot. Paul said he saw it bounce once and then he didn’t see it anymore.

When he got to the green, Dubord checked behind the hole to see if the balls rolled past. After not finding them, he walked up to the hole and found the surprise of his life.

“There were no balls behind the hole, so I went to the hole, looked in and raised two fingers. I said, ‘There’s two in the hole, there’s two in the hole!'” Paul said. “It was incredible. We were all in disbelief.”

Dubord had the same reaction.

“I was probably as stunned as I was excited,” he said. “I wasn’t doing cartwheels on the green or anything.”

This reaction is completely understandable.

ECC was established in 1915, and according to director of golf Jeff Rae, none of the club’s oldest members remember anything like this happening in the history of the course. According to the National Hole-In-One Registry website, the odds of this happening are 17 million to 1. To put some perspective on that, the odds of a person being struck by lightning twice in their lifetime — not just once — are 1 in 9 million.

It was such big news that it made it on the Golf Channel on the following Monday morning.

“It’s amazing,” Paul DeGrand said. “You would never expect it to happen in your lifetime.”

The news also spread quickly all over the internet and social media.

“It kind of spread like wildfire,” Dubord said. “Facebook kind of exploded and I heard from a lot of people that are out of town. Both Paul and I have been hearing from a lot of out-of-town friends and well-wishers. … Everybody is happy.

“It’s just something where you see the hole-in-ones in the paper all the time, and it’s really great that people get them, but two out of the same foursome is just a little bit unique.”

What’s even more crazy is Dubord mentioned a friend of his said that two guys from Oakland Hills Country Club in lower Michigan did the same thing June 23.

“They did the 17 million-to-1 also,” Paul said with a laugh.

Paul DeGrand ended up shooting a 43 on the front nine and a 44 on the back to finish with 87, while Dubord shot had 39 and 42 for 81.

“That’s unusual because he’s a better golfer,” Dubord said. “What really amazed me is after the hole-in-one, I didn’t fall apart. As far as my game, that’s as well as I’ve played in a long time.”

It was also Dubord’s first-ever hole-in-one.

For Paul DeGrand, it was his second. His first came on Oct. 1, 2012, on No. 4 at Highland Golf Club in Hyde.

“I remember it well,” he said. “I had the day off after a (Green Bay) Packer game and I had a free round of golf at the Highland. So me and my brother Dan went out there and played, and I made a hole-in-one there, too. It was 195 yards.

“I’m not that good, I’ve just been playing for 40 years.”

Everybody at ECC got two free drinks after the crew came in. Someone suggested that Dubord go play the lottery Saturday night.

“That didn’t work out so well,” Dubord said with a laugh. “The hole-in-one worked out better.”

Dubord summed it up best with just a few words.

“It was very unusual,” he said. “You never think it’s going to go in the hole.”

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