On April 9, Jay Gerlich got a hole-in-one on Lake Panorama National’s 13th hole. The feat was witnessed by playing partner Les Marks, plus Joe Wells and Austin Rogers watching from the #14 tee box.
Any golfer will tell you getting a hole-in-one is pretty special, and for the majority, something they haven’t yet achieved. But this is the fifth ace for Gerlich, all at Lake Panorama National. What’s even more amazing, he now has a hole-in-one on all four of the LPN’s par-3 holes.
“Each one is a surprise,” Gerlich says. “It really is pure luck, but if you play enough, and long enough, sometimes it happens.”
Gerlich’s first hole-in-one came on the LPN’s third hole in 1987. The next came in 1990 on the seventh hole. In 2008, it was on the 16th hole. In 2010, he got his fourth hole-in-one, again on LPN’s third hole. And now he has his fifth ace with the recent shot on 13.
“That’s the one I never thought I would get, because every time I stepped onto that tee box, I thought about it,” Gerlich says. “I was pretty thrilled when it happened.”
Gerlich started playing golf in West Des Moines in 1971 when he returned from the military. His parents, Irv and Molly Gerlich, built a home at Lake Panorama in the late 1970s and he started playing at Lake Panorama National. It’s been his “home” course since 1983.
Gerlich, who is retired, is a certified golf club repair technician. He has attended three GolfWorks club repair and assembly workshops, and will attend another soon. “I have a whole shop full of tools and golf clubs,” he says. “I probably have 20 to 25 sets of clubs I’ve made.”
For his most recent ace, he used a new Cleveland 588 #4 hybrid. “It was a warm day and the wind was blowing from the south at about 30 miles per hour,” Gerlich says. “That was only the third time I had ever hit that club, but it worked great.”
Did Gerlich do the expected and buy a round of drinks when he got into the clubhouse? “Yes, a round of drinks and then some,” Gerlich says. “I think my bar bill was longer than the golf club I used.”