September 22, 2000
Herb Shupard is a very lucky golfer. Ridiculously lucky, in fact.
On Thursday, September 14, Shupard aced his tenth hole-in-one, with a 5-iron at the 175-yard par 3 thirteenth hole at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. It was also his second one-shotter of the year.
“It is pretty weird, but I know it’s a matter of luck,” Shupard, 54, admitted. “There are a whole lot of better players than I am who don’t have any holes-in-one.”
“On the other hand, I’m now ahead of Ron Barrows [the Rehoboth CC head pro]. Ronnie has nine, and he’s now losing,” Shupard laughed.
Shupard enjoyed recounting his latest accomplishment. “I played a real good round the day before, and was having a good round when we came to the 13th. The pin was in the middle of the green, just beyond the center ridge. I was riding together with Steve Anderson, and we were playing with Ron Borders and Terry Smith.”
“I couldn’t see the shot when it took off because of the sun glare at that time of day. We knew it was a good shot, but didn’t see it roll after it landed. When we couldn’t see my ball on the green as we approached, I said it was either in the rough beyond the green, or in the cup. Steve ran up and retrieved the ball from the hole before I could reach the green,” Shupard said.
They found Shupard’s ball mark about 8 feet from the pin.
Shupard said his handicap ranges from 4 to 6, and he shot a 72 for the day’s round. Apparently he didn’t allow the excitement of this single shot to hurt the rest of his game.
Most of his other holes-in-one have also occurred at Rehoboth, his home course. “I’ve had two on No. 13, two on No. 3, three on No. 5, and one on No. 15. I had one at Cripple Creek Country Club a while ago. My first one ever was at Robin Dale Country Club outside Washington, DC, in 1970,” Shupard explained.
Shupard’s only regret is that he hasn’t yet hit a hole-in-one on the club’s 19th hole. The club built the scenic 140-yard par 3 between the clubhouse and Rehoboth Bay several years ago, to keep the course at 18 holes during the club’s extensive golf course renovation project.
John Wallet, the assistant club pro at Rehoboth CC, said he’s not that surprised at Shupard’s accomplishment. “I played with him last Saturday [September 16]. He shot an 80, but every one of his shots on the par threes was close to the hole. Plus, Herb plays a lot of golf.”
When told about Wallet’s comments, Shupard laughed and said, “It’s true that I play a lot of golf, but I just love it. Plus, it’s a matter of good planning.”
Shupard is a former teacher, and changed careers in 1983. He then worked half the year as a real estate agent and the other half-year running Herb’s Bait and Tackle in Dewey Beach, a store he opened with his father in 1970. He closed the store in the fall of 1997, and switched to real estate sales full-time. He’s now a partner with Ron Crain at the Rehoboth Re/Max office.
“I work seven days a week, including a lot of evenings, showing houses and preparing sales contracts. I manage my schedule so I can get in 4 to 5 rounds per week, usually during the afternoons. I’d play even more if I could,” Shupard said.
It will be a while before anyone can duplicate Shupard’s feat, at least at the 13th hole. This week the club’s par-5 12th hole re-opened after renovation, and No. 13 was taken out of play to be re-built.
Shupard clearly appreciates his good fortune, and knows how much luck enters into making a hole-in-one. Just the same, I wouldn’t bet against him, at least on a par 3.