Alex man reminisces on magical day of golf (1987)
By Scott Thoma
Former longtime Granite Falls dentist Jerry Hanson defied the odds 36 summers ago when he not only shot a hole-in-one in his round with two playing partners, but seven holes later, he duplicated the feat at the Granite Falls Country Club.
Hanson, 88, who now resides in Alexandria with his wife, Deanna, has managed to notch an ace seven times so far in his golfing career.
After getting his two aces in the same round, his playing partners wanted to play nine more holes to see if they could get some of their money back that they had lost to Hanson, who readily agreed. On the par-5, No. 5 hole, Hanson’s second shot landed approximately 25 feet from the green. He took out his 8-iron, the same club he used to sink his two aces over the first nine holes. The ball sailed toward the cup, tapped the pin, and dropped down into the cup for an eagle.
He finished the day shooting scores of 34-33-34. That’s 104 for 27 holes, 7-under par.
According to the American Hole in One Blog, which did extensive research, the odds of an amateur golfer getting a hole in one is 12,500 to 1. The odds of getting two holes in the same round is one in 67 million.
In comparison, the odds of being bit by a snake is one in 5 million, being attacked by a shark is one in 3.75 million, and being struck by lightning is one in 1.2 million.
Hanson’s first hole-in-one came in 1976 in Spring Lake, Iowa. Since then, he’s had three in Granite Falls, when he lived there, and two more in Alexandria. He built his own par-3, three-hole course on his large property south of Alexandria, and even aced a 135-yard shot on that course.
After getting one of his aces at a tournament for dentists, one of his playing partners turned to him and asked how he has been able to get so many holes in one.
The quick-witted Hanson smiled and responded with a dental quip, “I see a hole and I fill it.”
Hanson won an abundance of tournaments in nearly two dozen different cities in his career, the last coming in 2005 in a Seniors event in Alexandria. Two of those tournament wins was a Husband & Wife event with Deanna, who has also had a stellar golfing career. Their daughter, Kris, played on the LPGA tour for several years. Their other two daughters, Jackie and Jeri Kay, have also played a lot of golf.
“Golf has been a big part of our family,” said Deanna.
Hanson, whose favorite club in his bag is the 8-iron, can still chip and putt as well as he could in his prime. He’s lost some distance on his drives but feels confident that he can still shoot his age. The last time he can recall shooting his age was when he was 79.
Hanson’s memory is sharper than someone half his age as he can recall the date, course, and distance of each of his aces. He can also recite the Gettysburg Address, passages from the Bible, lengthy poems, and much more.
Golfing isn’t the only thing this personable man is proficient at doing. He is an outstanding trap shooter as evidenced by busting 198 of 200 clay targets that he hit en route to winning the State Super Senior Tournament in Alexandria in 2010. He still trap-shoots four days a week, three at a club in Alexandria, and once a week in Glenwood. He still averages around 23 hits per round of 25, and has hit 100 in a row before.
“He’s a Renaissance man,” joked his wife, Deanna, while shaking her head. “He does just about everything, but he doesn’t crochet or have babies.”
“Doc,” as he is known by friends and family, is an Eagle Scout, plays “Taps” at funerals and memorials, sings in the church choir, loads his own shotgun shells, and the list goes on and on.
While he was still a dentist, he and his wife made a missionary trip to Nicaragua and he “pulled 192 teeth in eight days.”
“Doc” has had two knee replacements that put his golfing game on the back burner while he focused on his trap shooting, but he is planning to return to the links this summer in Alexandria.
Hanson renovated a former barn on his property into a “man cave” where he keeps some of his golfing, trap shooting, and hunting memorabilia. Near the center of the room is a large Bible resting on an easel at a desk. He then turns on the desk lamp that illuminates the Bible.
“This is where I come to reflect and get away from things,” he said. “I come out here and read the Bible when I have the time. The Lord is important to me.”