Golf’s rarest shot, the hole-in-one, is something most golfers can only dream of accomplishing.
For 50 years, Arlington Heights native Les Kroll was one of these dreamers. He had never found the pin on one shot, until a recent four-week span, when he recorded two holes-in-one at Bull Valley Golf Club in Woodstock.
On May 17, Kroll stepped up to the white tees of the 130-yard par-3 fifth hole with the green guarded by water in front and to the right. His 9-iron tee shot landed in front of the green and bounced twice before falling in.
Kroll, 60, who first picked up a set of clubs at the age of 10, always looked forward to the day he could write a “1” on his scorecard.
“I could not believe it,” Kroll said. “I’ve come close numerous times, but it was a relief after all these years.”
In 1988, Kroll became only the 27th member of Bull Valley. The club’s head golf professional, Mike Picciano, has known Kroll since 2002 and was ecstatic for him when he received the news.
Picciano said that since 1997, only 91 members have recorded holes-in-one.
“I was probably more shocked than anything else,” Picciano said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s a remarkable accomplishment.”
Frank Abruzzo, a longtime friend and golfing partner of Kroll, was the only person to witness both holes-in-one. Over the years, Abruzzo has traveled with Kroll, visiting various golfing hot spots in the United States and Scotland.
“It was unbelievable because he said he had never hit a hole-in-one before, and he’s 60 years old,” Abruzzo said.
Kroll’s second hole-in-one came June 8, when he lined up at the white tees on the 16th hole, Bull Valley’s longest par 3. This time, using a 7-iron, Kroll’s shot sailed over a lake in front of the green and slowly rolled into the hole.
“It was utter disbelief,” Kroll described his reaction. “I watched it hit in front of the green with the flag in the back, and it just disappeared.”
Kroll said he plays each weekend with the same four friends, something he cherishes and is his favorite aspect of golf.
“I love the social end of it the most,” Kroll said. “Being outside and playing with my friends is the best part.”