John Blake, center, with Riverhead Buick GMC general manager Tom Williams, right, sales manager Ted Sarnicola, left, and John Gahan of General Motors Friday at the Route 58 dealership. Photo: Peter Blasl

In 20 years of offering a car as a hole-in-one prize at golf outings, Riverhead GMC never had a golfer sink the ball into the cup with one swing — until this summer.

John Blake of Brookhaven achieved the distinction on July 8 at the West Sayville Golf Course, at the 12th Annual Ed Summers Golf Outing, a fundraiser for the Patchogue Fire Department.

“We offer this about 10 or 15 times a year. It’s something to keep the outings interesting. It helps generate excitement,” said Riverhead GMC general manager Tom Williams. “It’s one way we support good causes in the community,” he said.

One hole on the course is designated for the contest and the first golfer in the tournament to sink a hole-in-one there, he or she wins the car. In this case, the prize was a three-year, all expense paid lease on a 2019 GMC Terrain.

“In 20 years, this is the first time,” Williams said. “A lot of people get close, but like horseshoes and hand grenades, close doesn’t count,” he said.

A hole in one is rare indeed. According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, the odds of the average golfer making a hole-in-one, also known as an ace, are 12,000 to 1. Of the roughly 450 million rounds of golf played each year in the U.S., less than 2% of golfers score an ace in any given year, according to the registry.

The contest hole was 165 yards, Blake said. “I used a five iron. The ball hit the green and one hop, in the hole.”

He said he considers himself an average golfer.

Blake, a retired NYC firefighter and a volunteer firefighter with the Patchogue Fire Department, was at the Riverhead dealership Friday to collect his prize.

He is giving the Terrain, a compact SUV, to his step-son, who is getting married in June and needs a new car. He said he made arrangements to have it shipped to his step-son’s home in Arizona.

“We’re happy to sponsor these contests,” Williams said, “and we’re excited somebody finally won the prize.”

Peter Blasl contributed reporting for this story.

We need your help.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.

SHARE
Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.