NAPLES, Florida — Tom Peek is 82 and has been playing golf for over 50 years.
He had never made a hole-in-one. Now he has two.
Wednesday at Royal Palm Golf Club, Peek made an ace on the 91-yard No. 5, and followed that up three holes later with one on No. 8 from 112 yards. He used a 7-iron for both.
“I’ve been playing off and on for 50 years, and got several close within a foot or so,” Peek said. “Nothing ever dropped in until (Wednesday). It seems like they all wanted to fall in. It was fun.”
“Don’t ask me about the rest of the game because I’m not sure I remember very much,” Peek added with a chuckle.
Peek stepped up on No. 5, a par 3 over water, and hit his “handy” 7-iron.
“I just made a clean stroke on it,” he said. “We really couldn’t see the cup itself because the green has a little bit of an undulation about three-quarters of the way. I saw the ball hit and roll toward the flagstick but really couldn’t see it go in the hole. One of the other guys said ‘I think that hit the flagstick.’”
“When we got there, sure enough it was in the hole. Everybody was excited about that.”
Peek was playing a two-best-ball-net game with playing partners Bob Fitch and Bob Furey, both of whom he knew, and Jon Parrillo, who he had never played with before. Peek got a stroke via his handicap on the hole. One of the others made a birdie, so their total for the hole with their handicap was a 2.
“I had a hole-in-one for a net zero on our scorecard,” he said with a laugh. “It was a fun day.”
That continued on No. 8, which Peek said was playing around 120 yards.
“I just made another nice swing and we could all observe it in the air and when it hit on the green,” he said. “I’m guessing it hit maybe 5 feet from the hole, kind of took a short hop and rolled right in the hole.
“At this point, I think there were a few people playing up behind us who had come up to the tee box. They couldn’t believe it.”
And it was unbelievable. Peek had just accomplished something that according to Golf Digest was 67 million to one.
“You can probably guess the advice I was getting,” he said. “Buy a lottery ticket on the way home. I did not.”
Peek didn’t pick up the game until his late 20s, when the second lieutenant in the Air Force who was stationed in Grand Forks, North Dakota, was asked by others to give it a try.
“There was a city golf course a mile or so away,” Peek said.
Peek and his wife Nora, who also was an engineering student, met in college at the University of Tennessee, and came down to Naples in 1968, following her father, a retired career military officer.
Peek was a partner in the engineering firm Wilson, Miller, Barton & Peek before retiring. He helped design Pelican Bay and Bonita Bay, among countless others. He joined Royal Palm in 2002.
“All of the time I was working, I never had time to play a lot of golf,” he said.
After his feat Thursday, word spread quickly, and so did the number of people coming to the clubhouse for the traditional free drink. Peek was thankful he had paid into the club’s “hole-in-one” insurance.
“Everybody was having happy hour at noontime or slightly thereafter,” he said.
Peek already has received many congratulatory messages, including one from a close friend and former neighbor.
“Congratulations, what a feat!” the message read. “I wish I could’ve been there to see that happen. I’ll just settle for ‘I know that guy.’”
Peek probably has made many new friends along the way now, too.
Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at email@example.com. Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/