Huff’s unforgettable albatross a wonderful welcome for one of golf’s Covid brigade

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By Ken MacLeod

With a 10 mph south wind at his back, newly minted golf nut Jake Huff stroked a 5-iron from 220 yards out on the par-5 ninth hole at LaFortune Park Sunday and watched the ball land in the front center of the green and work its way to the back left hole location and disappear for an exceedingly rare albatross, a score of 2 on a par-5 or 1 on a par-4.

Some experts rate the odds of an albatross as high as six million to one, where a hole-in-one is 12,500 to one. Pat McCrate, director of golf at LaFortune Park, said he cannot remember one being hit there in recent years on the ninth hole, though there have been a few on the short par-4 second hole.

Huff, a 27-year-old patrol officer in the Tulsa Police Department, could see the ball go in, as his could his playing partners and several golfers near the green. A celebration ensued that lasted throughout the back nine and continued into the wee hours at a local casino, where the good fortune continued.

“I came home with about $600 more than what I took, although I have almost no memory of it,” Huff said.

Huff, a former collegiate football player, played a bit of golf as a child but didn’t take it up in earnest until Covid hit two years ago. Now he is consumed, playing and practicing frequently at his home course the Owasso Golf & Athletic Club and with his uncle and his friends at LaFortune Park, as he was last weekend. He works night shifts at TPD and had only just gotten out of bed after about four hours of sleep to make the round.

His drive on the dogleg right par-5 actually bounced left off the hill where a bunker guards the corner, leaving him about 190 to the front of the green and 220 to the hole. He usually hits his 5-iron about 195.

“I just roasted one,” he said. “ I could see it going up the left side and then back down the hill to the right. It was really nice to be able to see it go in. The people at the green were excited and my group was really excited.”

Since resuming the game and finding he was pretty shaky, Huff has made rapid strides. His handicap is now under 8, he shot a 74 on a course in Chicago and lists Karsten Creek in Stillwater as his favorite stop thus far. He has a long adventure ahead.

“I’ve just fallen in love with golf,” he said. “It’s one of those games where it’s all on you. I love to practice. I love how much of the game is from 150 yards and in. Hitting greens in regulation is big. Putting is huge. And driving I thought would be my Achilles’ Heel because I had back surgery in college, but golf has helped me limber up and I’m doing great there.”

The search for his first hole-in-one goes on, but Huff has something much more rare.

“It’s definitely a shot I’ll never forget,” Huff said.


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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source