The Hole-in-One Lady
Dave Kindred's story about Jacqueline Gagne has generated a lot of mail, mostly dismissive of Gagne's claims of 16 holes-in-one.
"Please, please, pleeeez, give readers no more impossible hole-in-one stories unless they have been absolutely, positively verified," says Bill Benjamin of Evanston, Illinois, representing the majority. Tim January of Cave Creek, Arizona, is a bit more straighforward:
Horse----!!! Her claim, not your article. Thanks for exposing the circumstances of her holes in one.
North Carolinian Krish Arunachalam wrote:
It was not just shocking to learn that [Dave Kindred was not able to document] all those aces but I was more appalled by the fact that the respected golf teacher and commentator Peter Kostis seems to have authenticated her claims by merely looking at her swing.
Kostis appeared on CBS's Early Show and called her swing anyway "the real deal."Says Krish:
My swing would be the envy of Elkington and I hardly ever in one-putt range the fifty percent of the times I hit the par3 greens. I am a decent enough golfer with a 13 handicap and am still waiting for the first hole in one.
Don Nichols of Riverside, California says Golf Digest's decision not to recognize Gagne's record was wise:
I just read the article on Jacqueline Gagne and her hole-in-one record in our November issue. I agree with your decision not to recognize this lady's record. I can't believe she made that many aces with no one actally seeing the ball go into the cup on most of them.
But Gagne has one defender. Nina Renaud of Durham thinks Kindred did too much reporting by phone and as a result left the doubt in Gagne's favor:
...If he'd walked the 6th at Dye and the 8th at Shore, he'd know if there were any logical place a ball rolling toward a hole cut behind a swale could have ended up without anyone seeing it. Otherwise "found in the cup" by someone other than Jackie Gagne sure sounds like "ace".... Next time you have space to fill, please don't waste it. Show me how to get out of a bunker from a downhill lie.
As the story points out, Kindred made repeated offers to sit down with Gagne to talk about her aces, where she made them, and how. He was unsuccessful.
Gagne's call was a voice mail in which she proposed a deal of the sort that no reporter can make. She would sit for an interview if I first faxed to her lawyer the name of a source in my reporting along with what the source had said.
With all the mail, to both Golf World and Golf Digest, we've yet to hear from one of Gagne's playing companions who saw one of those aces go in..... and wants to set the record straight.