This shot’s worth a million bucksMaybe you want to try to hit your golf ball closest to the pin. Or maybe you’ll get to go for the Million Dollar Hole-in-One. Whatever shots you’re banking on, the place to take them is at Two Harbors’ Lakeview National Golf Course Sept. 28- 29 for the 42nd Annual Dahl Family Open.
By: Chaviely Dellinger, Lake County News Chronicle
Maybe you want to try to hit your golf ball closest to the pin. Or maybe you’ll get to go for the Million Dollar Hole-in-One. Whatever shots you’re banking on, the place to take them is at Two Harbors’ Lakeview National Golf Course Sept. 28- 29 for the 42nd Annual Dahl Family Open.
Unless you remember it by another name. It previously was the Ardie Dahl Memorial Handicap Golf Tournament, then the Ardie Dahl-Shirley Dahl Nelson Memorial Golf Tournament before taking on its current moniker.
“The name was changed so that when the next person passes away, we don’t have to keep renaming it,” joked Charlie Dahl of Two Harbors, a member of the family that has hosted the tourney over the years.
Make that extended family.
“The Dahl family truly includes everyone who likes having a golf course in town. It’s like we’re doing a survey: ‘Do you like having a golf course in town? Do you appreciate everything the city has done to provide this?’ To vote ‘yes’ costs $1. To vote ‘no’ or ‘don't care’ is free,” Dahl said of the event, which costs just a buck per shot to enter.
Actually, it’s more than one event, including the Million Dollar Hole in One contest and the Closest-to-the-Pin competition. That latter consists of shots taken 150 yards away from hole eight.
“Hole number eight was chosen because it offers the best chance of success for participants of any age and ability,” Dahl said. “Also, the lake provides a great backdrop.”
Closest-to-the-Pin is a competition designed specifically for par-three holes. It is won by the golfer whose tee shot rests closest to the hole and stops on green. Prizes for this contest include a $475 season pass for first place and a $150 season pass going to the closest junior.
All proceeds benefit the Lakeview National Golf Course, the host course this year for the tourney that’s also been held at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior and Lester Park in Duluth.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, the event will run from 5 to 10 p.m., with plans to light up the course. On Sunday, it will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the million dollar shot contest.
The top amateur from the closest-to-the-hole contest will be given one chance to take the million dollar shot. The shot will be taken 165 yards away from hole eight.
“Try to hit the ball and just get it going in the right direction,” participant Erwin Johnson said when asked about advice for other golfers.
The $1,000,000 is insured by Harbor Insurance and will be paid as a 40-year annuity. According to Johnson, it doesn’t take much to insure such an event — at least according to his math.
“It’s only one person actually taking the shot,” Johnson said. “If you have 120 people lined up, but only one taking the final shot, the insurance company pockets $400,000 — that’s if those numbers are correct — because the odds are 12,000 to one.”
The chances of hitting a hole in one are estimated at 1 in 12,000, Johnson’s mathematical logic continues, reportedly the same as finding a four-leaf clover. Or put another way, if the odds are 1 in 12,000, and only 120 people participate per year, it could take 100 years.
But last year, according to local golfer John Christiansen, Brian Hudein scored a hole in one from 150 yards away — on hole number eight.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t participating in the Million Dollar Hole in One, though Dahl says it’s still an impressive feat.
And, Dahl says, someone has actually won the contest.
“September 1981, George Gilbert aced the sixth hole at Lester Park in Duluth,” he said.
Indeed, that feat shows up in the News-Chronicle archives, with a brief paragraph on Sept. 21, 1981 reading: “The highlight of the tourney was a hole-in-one by Two Harbors' George Gilbert on the 158-yard sixth hole using a nine-iron. Witnesses to the feat were the other three members of the foursome: Jerry Carlson, Leo Saine and Jim Matthews.”
No mention of a million bucks, however.
"Nope,” Dahl said. “In fact, I don't know that he ever got a prize for that. I just wanted to throw that in and let people know that it is possible.”