Brock Kler thought he had pocketed $10,000 on Saturday.
When walking into the clubhouse at the Bear Valley Golf Course, he and his pals read on a dry-erase board that a hole-in-one on hole No. 7 was worth $10K.
And so it happened, an hour later, Kler stood at the tee box on hole No. 7 watching his white Titleist golf ball drop into the hole.
“We all came in (the clubhouse) excited because we thought we just won $10,000,” Kler said.
Not so fast. Kler misread the sign. The money shot was for an upcoming Fourth of July tournament.
“My hopes were crushed,” he said.
Sinking a shot of a lifetime was a sufficient consolation prize for the 21-year-old Kler, a member of the United States Coast Guard whose tour on The Rock ends Thursday.
Kler’s ace was the 50th in the history of Bear Valley Golf Course, which opened in 1986. He used a Mizuno gap wedge — his friend’s club — to ace the 127-yard, Par 3.
Since he didn’t put a good swing on the ball, the right-handed Kler thought the shot was going to land short of the spacious green. The pin placement was on the back of the green.
“It was right on line … it (the ball) hit the front of the green. It was rolling, rolling, rolling right for it (the hole), and it just disappeared,” Kler said. “We were all yelling and jumping.”
Growing up in Clackamas, Oregon, Kler golfed regularly with his dad at the nine-hole Springwater Golf Course but didn’t bring his clubs to the island when he was transferred here two years ago. After not visiting the course for the first 23 months of his 24-month stay, he got the itch to get reacquainted with golf. Kler and his Coast Guard buddies — Nick Gray and Joel Kincaid — have been frequent visitors to Bear Valley the past few weeks. Kler uses Gray’s and Kincaid’s clubs.
“The first round that we played a couple of weeks ago was pretty rough, but it started to come back. It is just like riding a bike — you never forget,” Kler said.
Kler, boatswain’s mate in the Coast Guard, was so pumped about his first ace, that he doesn’t remember how the rest of the round went. He did put the milestone golf ball in his pocket and finished the final 11 holes with another ball.
For Kler, that ball represents his $10,000 prize.
“I ran into the clubhouse, grabbed a sharpie and wrote the date on it (the ball), what hole and what course,” said Kler, who plans to continue golfing in Florence, Oregon. “I’m keeping it.”