Norman Manley of Long Beach, CA is credited with a world record 59. In 2007 at the ripe old age of 102 Elsie McLean was the oldest to score one. And just up the road in San Jose, Ida Pieracci laid claim to 11.
The odds against scoring one is 12,000 to one.
We’re referring to a hole-in-one. Statistically, one is scored every 3,500 rounds of golf and Cypress Cove at HealthPark Florida resident Dottie Coughlin is well ahead of that scoring ratio. The affable, fun-loving villa community resident proudly displays a plaque with the 10 golf balls she used in scoring her holes-in-one over a 51-year golfing career.
That’s right – 10 holes in one!
Only Ida Pieracci’s recorded and verified holes-in-one are more than Dottie’s marksmanship. There may be others whose record surpasses Dottie. But for sure, her 10 aces are among the best that golf has to offer.
“I’ve been involved in sports since I can remember,” says the youngest sibling in her family of six. “My favorite sport? Golf. To watch? That would be hard…probably all (sports),” she says with her well-known broad grin.
As a child, Dottie’s four brothers pulled her along to every sporting activity. “My sister and I were totally opposite. She was 10 years older, she married and ended up having eight kids,” she added. Dottie, meanwhile, had no children from her two marriages. But she says that certainly didn’t make her life lonely since she worked in junior golf helping teach aspiring young golfers.
Dottie’s love could just as well have been in the sport of tennis. Two of her brothers, she explained, excelled playing collegiate tennis and Dottie joined in. Or even in bowling – her first husband and she met at a local Cleveland bowling alley.
You get the picture…Dottie is truly a sports buff – even to this day.
Her golf clubs are now silent, mainly because she doesn’t “walk as well as I used too. I do miss it,” she adds. However, she is still a deadly accurate putter.
Meanwhile, the story of her 10 holes-in-one will never grow old. She’s a little shy about relating her story because she doesn’t want people to think she’s bragging. “No way, I don’t want ever to be accused of that. I am just fortunate,” Dottie notes.
It’s that first hole-in-one she’ll never forget because she was playing alone. Now for those who know the game of golf, you understand that verification of a hole-in-one requires at least one other person to attest that you scored an ace and that you have played at least a nine-hole round of golf.
Dottie’s first hole-in-one came a little over a year after she started playing the game. She was playing alone at Chartwell Country Club in Annapolis and scored that first ace using a five wood on the Par 3 177-yard 4th hole. Fortunately at the time, there were roofers working on several houses along the fairway. The moments that followed seemed to be typical Dottie. She boldly asked those workers who had witnessed the shot to come down and sign her scorecard! They did.
She got her second hole-in-one on the same hole four years later. “I remember it well because the ball never got higher than four feet off the ground during its whole flight,” she says.
And for those non-golfers, note that there is a tradition about buying a round of drinks at the clubhouse after scoring a hole-in-one. Dottie even managed to escape that tradition during what would have the most expensive – at a 600-person convention at Hersey (PA) Country Club. The bar bill, she said laughingly, was paid by the corporation hosting the convention because they had invited Dottie and her husband to participate.
But her second to the last hole-in-one occurred at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples when her foursome was asked to play through a slower group of golfers. Dottie quickly obliged stepping to the tee and sending her ball whizzing toward the 106-yard Par 3. It dropped in for an ace. All eight golfers on the tee cheered.
She does regret not playing another. But her memories on links around the world have given her enough to cherish. “Besides, my lifestyle here at Cypress Cove keeps me on the go,” she says.
About Cypress Cove at HealthPark Florida
Cypress Cove—a not-for-profit organization, opened in 1999—is a well established, highly respected, Life Plan Community (formerly known as a continuing care retirement community) with regional and national recognition. Located on a beautiful 48-acre campus at HealthPark Florida in South Fort Myers, Cypress Cove is home to more than 550 residents and offers a full complement of quality living options (independent living, home health, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care and rehabilitative care).