U Save It owner drops ace at Doublegate on hole he sponsored, wins $10K

Doublegate head pro Ed Everett, right, presents the check of $10,000 to U Save It owner Fred Sharpe after Sharpe’s ace during the club’s annual Member Guest Tournament.

Doublegate head pro Ed Everett, right, presents the check of $10,000 to U Save It owner Fred Sharpe after Sharpe’s ace during the club’s annual Member Guest Tournament.

ALBANY — Fred Sharpe has made hole-in-ones before. Two others prior to Memorial Day weekend, to be exact. And each were memorable and unique.

But as for No. 3? Well, let’s just say his third career ace takes the cake — by a mile.

“It was quite a day,” he said. “One I won’t soon forget.”

Ask any golfer, and they’ll tell you there’s a euphoric feeling that comes along with nailing golf’s most difficult shot. But when you win $10,000 like Sharpe did two weeks ago at Doublegate Country Club for a hole-in-one on the Par 3, 16th during the club’s annual Member Guest Tournament, a story to be told for a lifetime accompanied his feat.

Then there’s this juicy little detail which makes the tale even that much more amazing: Sharpe, the owner of U Save It Pharmacy in Albany, was actually the hole’s sponsor.

“What makes it even more unusual that I actually made the shot,” Sharpe, an 18-handicap, began with a laugh, “is that I’m not a very good golfer.”

But sure enough, when Sharpe’s foursome teed off that day on No. 16 — they were the last group to play the hole, meaning they represented the final chance for anyone to win the prize — he sent a drive into the air that looked and felt good all the way.

Although, he had no clue what awaited him when he arrived at the hole.

“I knew it was a good shot, but because the sun was glaring none of us could see where it landed,” he said. “Then we parked and started looking for my ball. And all of the sudden (the hole-watcher, Mary Hood) came running up and yelled, ‘Fred ... did you see it? You made a hole-in-one!’

“It was just unbelievable; quite a feeling.”

The way a sponsorship agreement works for a hole-in-one contest at any given golf tournament is that the sponsor takes out an insurance policy ahead of time — and in this case, Sharpe paid $500 for U Save It’s, which sponsors three or four hole-in-one contests a year, he said.

“It wasn’t like I wrote myself a check for $10,000 or would’ve been out $10,000 if no one made it,” he said. “I just lose the $500, and I’m OK with that because it’s good advertising and we like to support our local tournaments.”

But Sharpe couldn’t help but laugh when asked how much ribbing he’d taken from his fellow golfers since he was the one who took home the cash haul for the shot on the hole his business sponsored.

“Let’s just say I’ve been telling the story (over and over again) for two weeks. I’m still getting congratulation calls and texts,” he said before adding with another chuckle: “But luckily all the drinks and food were free after the tournament, so I didn’t even have to buy any rounds.”

Sharpe said he also didn’t incur any issue getting his check from the insurance company.

“I asked (Doublegate head pro) Ed (Everett) after it happened if I was going to have any issue collecting,” he said. “And Ed said, ‘No, not at all. That’s why we have witnesses and a hole-watcher.’

“And, sure enough, the check came last week.”

The shot, which was holed from 178 yards out, was witnessed by playing partner Carl Weidner and opponents Bruce Oosterveen and Casey Oosterveen, as well as being verified by Hood.

Sharpe said he’ll keep sponsoring the contests in the future, even though he knows it’s unlikely he’ll ever duplicate the feat.

“Hey, it turned out to be a pretty good investment,” he said.