GUN PLAIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — There are few things as daunting on a golf course as a par 3, muddled with marsh and surrounded by sand.
But don’t tell that to Otsego freshman Stephanie Scott.
In her very first high school swing, the nervous 14-year-old gripped a 7-iron and, from 90 yards away, bounced it once into the cup. A hole-in-one on her very first try.
“I always thought it was a really big deal,” Stephanie said, standing near the tee box where it happened. “I’m just in shock that I did it.”
Matt Rayman has been coaching golf at Otsego for 21 seasons. Up until last year, he had never seen a hole-in-one from one of his athletes. He could hardly contain the excitement on Hole 8 at Lake Doster Golf Club east of Plainwell when Stephanie pulled it off.
“A couple of parents started going crazy and I kind of lost my mind for a second and was high fiving and hugging her and probably scared her to death,” Rayman said. “But it was a really awesome moment.”
It almost didn’t happen. Stephanie has been around golf her whole life but had never played it competitively. She said she decided to play this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and all the changes it caused. She said it was “something to do.”
“I really was not playing good in practices,” Stephanie said. “I was in the 60s and 70s for my scores in practices.”
That round, she finished with a 53, something Rayman never anticipated.
“Good coaching, not good shots. So when she misses a putt that’s on her. But when it’s a hole-in-one, that’s good coaching,” Rayman joked.
“Really, I didn’t have anything to do with it,” he continued more seriously. “She already had the club drew and I just gave her a press hot thing and she took it back and knocked it in the hole.”
Stephanie saved the scorecard and the ball. She wants to mount it in a trophy placard to remember the moment — one that so many golfers dream of and only a few swings ever ace.
“This is definitely in the top highlights of my career. To have somebody do this in a match, as a freshman, first swing, it’s millions. Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, I bet they didn’t do it in their first match. To say that Stephanie did something that Jack Nicklaus didn’t do, or Dottie Pepper,” Rayman said.
“Golf is a swing-to-swing, day-to-day sport. As great as that swing was, she could be humbled on the very next hole,” he continued. “But a hole-in-one, perfect on a par 3, it’s hard to beat.”