DeMaria: An ‘ace’ in Genoa
April 9, 2017
Little did Ken DeMaria know at 15 years of age how a round of golf with his father would impact the course of his life.
Nearly 5,000 rounds later — and now 82 years young — DeMaria still is playing well enough that on Tuesday he carded a hole-in-one on the 14th hole of the Ranch Course at Genoa Lakes.
For DeMaria, who has lived in Genoa for 20 years, the ace was his sixth overall. All have come since 1991 and five have been shot at Genoa Lakes. Three of those have been shot on the Lakes Course and two on the Ranch Course.
As legendary New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel might have said … Amazin'. DeMaria enjoyed a light moment when asked if his playing abilities have diminished with age.
"I still shoot around 90 … but I use the front tee box and I play by some liberal rules now," he said, laughing. "Having a score is having the fun of it, that's all."
DeMaria has enjoyed golf now for 67 years and kept a personal scorecard of statistics — 4,700 rounds of golf, 84,600 holes, 167 golf courses all played in no fewer than 14 states, in addition to Mexico, Canada, Panama, Puerto Rico, and when he was serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, he played at Guantanamo Bay.
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"That was back in 2015 … I haven't brought my stats up to date," DeMaria said, laughing.
His hole-in-one shots have come in 1991 (at Flossmoor Country Club in Illinois), 1999, 2005, 2010, 2014 and now 2017.
This time DeMaria used a 9-iron for a 112-yard shot from the white tees. He was playing as part of a foursome with Bruce Crouch, Bob Wellise and Tony Chieffo.
Was he surprised?
"It's always a little bit of a surprise," DeMaria said matter-of-factly. "I hit the ball solid, it hit the green and just went in."
He is living proof that golf is a lifetime sport, explained Chris Detsch, head golf professional for the Ranch Course.
"He's a great guy who plays out here three or four times a week, and he plays with a great group of gentlemen," Detsch said. "It's all about the camaraderie and enjoying the game."
A 1952 graduate of Albany High School in the Bay Area, DeMaria said he cannot remember exactly where he joined his father for that first round of golf or what his score was. He didn't want to name any specific highlights, either.
Playing golf has quite simply been the best highlight.
"It's just been fun playing golf all these years," he said. "It's fun to go out and play, that's the objective."