Will Crisp had not been getting much value from his driver during a round in the Wednesday stableford competition at Manly Golf Club, the 4-marker as often as not chopping his ball out of trouble.
Yet when he came to the 272 metre par-4 ninth hole, Crisp decided, in the way of these things, ‘What the Hell’. And he pulled out the big dog to let it feed.
And feed it did.
What followed, according to Crisp’s dad Darren Crisp, was about more than golf or skill or sheer dumb luck.
It was about love and loss and family.
And though he is not a religious man, Darren knew: it was about divine intervention.
Well, felt like it, anyway.
Will Crisp’s drive was purely struck, his Titleist ProV1 drawing in from right to left. It landed on the 9th green, took three hops and bounded up towards the hole.
And Crisp bounded up the fairway after it.
It was too hard to see for Crisp, 21, and his 23-year-old pal, Victor Meli, much less their more venerable playing partners David Saunders and Michael Taylor.
“We couldn’t see what had happened to it,” Crisp told The Beaches Champion. “There’s a bit of a drop-off at the back of that green… I thought it might have gone through.
“Then I got to the hole…”
The ball was, of course, in the hole.
And Crisp howled to the moon.
And his playing partners began running towards him from 100 metres down the fairway, phones out to chronicle the miracle. And they began howling, too. For they knew they’d witnessed the impossible.
The raucous cries spread across the land-locked links in the parcel of land bordered by Queenscliff and Manly Vale. And soon enough word passed along the bush telegraph: didja hear? Albatross on nine. Young Crispy. How about that!
There’d never been one like it.
Americans call the albatross a double-eagle, which is perhaps a better name if they’re describing one with two heads. Because those are just as rare. Three shots under the par of a hole in one hit? Ridiculous.
Consider: In the 119-year history of Manly Golf Club, a course graced by so many hundreds of thousands of golfers, including gods of the game, men like Norman von Nida, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, there had never been an albatross on nine.
It’s as close to a miracle as golf gets.
For Darren Crisp it felt like there was something more at play. His brother Martin had passed away on the Sunday after a three-year fight with cancer. One of the last things Darren said to his brother as he held his hand was: ‘I’ll get a hole-in-one for you today, mate’.
He didn’t, not that Sunday, anyway. Nor did Will who’d promised his late uncle the same thing.
A few days later, though, Will landed a hole-in-one – on a par-4. He immediately called his dad. And Darren called his mum. Tears flowed. Sad and happy ones. Can you believe it?
As he relayed the tale to the Beaches Champion, who’d dropped into his famous pie shop on Kentwell Road in Allambie Heights, Darren Crisp shook his head at the memory
“I’m not a religious man by any means. But I felt it,” he said. “There was something going on.”
In the Manly clubhouse there was a party going on. Drinks flowed, photos were taken, speeches were made. There was talk of a plaque to commemorate the feat of young Will Crisp.
“I’ve only ever had one hole-in-one before, when I was a junior,” Will said.
“To get one on a par-4 at a course that I love, that’s taken me in on a scholarship, a few days after Uncle Martin had passed away … it’s unbelievable.
“It’s just unbelievable.”