All Aces

Published 1:13 pm Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some golfers are fortunate if they ever record a hole-in-one and others like Mark Klatte kind of have a knack for it.

Klatte, 66, recorded his 14th hole-in-one last Friday at Clarks Grove Golf Course on the 166-yard, No. 5. It had been nearly 30 years since the last time he’d done it, but Klatte knew right where to go after he hit the shot.

The mild November weather provided Klatte time for one more round last Friday and it soon became a memorable one on the nine-hole course. Klatte, the owner/operator of Clarks Grove Golf Course, used a 5-wood off the tee and though he didn’t see it go in, he knew it was headed right for the pin.

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“I knew it went right at the green,” Klatte said. “I didn’t really see it land on the green. The sun was kind of in my eyes. I instinctively went and looked in the hole.”

The odds of an amateur recording an ace are 12,500 to 1, according to the Web site and for Klatte to get his 14th wasn’t so far fetched, because as he put it, he’s always been an accurate golfer.

“That’s the best part of my game,” Klatte said. “The course I grew up on you had to be pretty accurate.”

Klatte, who some have called “Ace” has been around golf his entire life and namely par-3 courses, so the odds of him acing a hole were a lot better than other golfers because he played par-3s with so much familiarity.

“Golf’s just been in my blood all my life,” Klatte said.

His father, Mervin, built Elm Creek Golf Course in Plymouth in 1960 and Mark spent much of his time around the course. It was there he learned to become an accurate striker of the ball and it was also there he recorded the majority of his holes-in-one. Of his 14 career aces, all but three have come from that course.

Klatte’s first ace came in 1958, when he was 15 at Medina Golf Course and the situation was similar to his most recent hole-in-one. On a 166-yard, par-3 Klatte hit a 2-wood into the wind to notch his first ace. After that the aces kept coming.

“That’s my big niche in all my golfing life is that I’ve had 14 holes in one,” Klatte said. “I don’t think too many people can say that.”

He doesn’t remember exactly when his last hole-in-one came, but it was sometime in the mid-1980s at Monticello Golf Course.

Klatte won the 1981 VFW state tournament at Green Lea Golf Course and has owned several golf courses around the state. After he sold his stake in Elm Creek Golf Course he went on to purchase courses in Garrison and Alexandria before purchasing what was formerly Arrowhead Golf Course in Emmons. In 2004 he bought Clarks Grove Golf Course and the house that sits on the property.

Klatte said he plays about once a week and sometimes as much as twice a week.