One-Handed Golfer, 3 Holes-In-One

Bill Hilsheimer hits a shot at the Bird Bay Executive Golf Club in Venice, Fla., on Tuesday, March 2, 2004. Hilsheimer is known among his golfing buddies as a nice guy with a three hole-in-one scored in the past six months -- not a bad record for a one-armed golfer. His right hand was severed at the age of 9 from a passing train.
A Florida golfer racked up three holes-in-one in the past six months — all while swinging one-handed.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the odds of an amateur golfer hitting a hole-in-one are 12,600 to 1. Figuring the odds of what 68-year-old Bill Hilsheimer of Nokomis accomplished could short-circuit a calculator.

The aces were the first of his career.

"I waited 50 years to get one. Now, they seem to be coming in bunches," Hilsheimer said. "The first one, I was playing with my father-in-law on his 94th birthday party, so it was really special."

His most recent ace was last week at the 157-yard, par-3 13th hole at the Bird Bay Executive Golf Course in Venice. In January, he aced a 157-yard hole at the Gulf Gate course in Sarasota, and in September, he had another ace on a 105-yard hole on a course in Ohio.

Not bad for a player who lost most of his right hand 59 years ago when he was run over by a train in Columbus, Ohio. Hilsheimer, who has a 15 handicap, doesn't use his right arm when he swings.

Robby Robertson, the owner-manager of Bird Bay, was fertilizing the 13th tee when Hilsheimer hit his most recent ace.

"It's not easy to even hit the green on that hole," Robertson was quoted as telling the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "I've never seen anything like what Bill has done.

Hilsheimer retired to Florida in 1996 after working 35 years as a photo engraver for the Akron Beacon-Journal newspaper. He and his wife, Dorothy, raised six children. "I never had much time to play golf," he said. "Now, I'm playing four or five times a week."