NEWPORT — The shortest hole at Agate Beach Golf Course is the 8th, an artful Par 3 challenge carved from the nearby forest with a variety of eye-popping hazards including a bobcat that frequents the fairway.
None of that bothered Tom Derden, a 13-year-old Junior PGA player from Eagle, Idaho, who aced the devious hole on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Derden was playing the vacation round with his father, Terry, when his ball seemed to disappear on the faraway green.
“I wasn’t watching his swing but it had the unmistakable sound of a nice, clean stroke,” said Terry. “I saw it take one bounce and vanish, and thought it absolutely had to be in the cup. I was so excited I could hardly play the rest of the round.”
Young Tom, who used a seven iron for the ace — estimated to occur in only one of every 33,000 rounds — found his heart racing, too.
“When dad said you gotta’ run down to check it, he meant to jump in the golf cart and go see,” recalled Tom, introduced to the game by his father when he was just five-years-old. “But I was so excited I just started sprinting as fast as I could. I pulled up and the feeling was pretty spectacular, doing something that never happens to other people in a lifetime. It was amazing.”
Derden said he learned the game’s fundamentals from his dad, then went on to take Junior PGA club lessons. In Idaho, he attends St. Ignatius High School, where he is a leading player on the golf team.
Terry said the event was the highlight of the family vacation, which always includes father-son golf. The twosome settled on Agate Beach Golf Course after reading that the course was almost 100 years old.
”We had a little breakfast at their great dinner and played away,” he said.
Agate Beach golf coach Don Gray said the 8th hole was built in 1960 after the Martin family took ownership of the course.
“It’s 115-yards with a huge bunker on the left and nothing but forest behind the hole and to the right,” said Gray, who said the right stick for the hole could be a 7 or 8 iron or a 52-degree gap wedge, depending on the player. “Play the ball to the right, because there’s a severe right-to-left slope on the green.”
Agate Beach Golf Course is located at 4100 North Coast Highway. For more information, call the pro shop at 541-265-7331.