Double Eagle – A rare bird

John Phipps makes a one in a million shot with witnesses.

John Phipps makes a one in a million shot with witnesses.

Art Mayhle

The rarest of all birds? — One in a million, or one in six million by some sources. Quail Creek resident, John Phipps pulled it off with a double eagle (or albatross) on hole No. 5 of the Roadrunner course on March 13 (that’s Friday the 13th) holing out on his second shot with a 7 wood. According to the Golf Channel, there have been only 121 Double Eagles on the PGA tour since 1970.

John has been golfing for about two years after growing up playing soccer and tennis at home in Yorkshire, England. He joined the men’s nine hole golf club, the Desert Duffers, in March 2014. Fellow Duffers Denny Amdahl, Dave Burrows and Bruce Johnson were with John when he accomplished this probable once in a lifetime feat. All watched the ball roll onto the green but were momentarily confused when they arrived and didn’t see the ball—until they looked into the cup and confusion turned into jubilation. “Wow! A double eagle!” was Dave’s reaction; Denny commented there was “disbelief all around but the look on John’s face after seeing it in the hole was ‘priceless.’” Bruce confirmed it was a “real thrill to witness.”

Characteristically, John expressed gratitude to fellow Duffers, Scott McLain and Bill Trefethen for getting him into golf and helping him improve his game. They were the first guys he sought out after his round to share his experience.

“I am very grateful to Scott McLain, Bill Trefethen and the Tuesday and Friday duffers for getting me into golf – and to my three golf companions on the day for their congratulations even though they were really insanely jealous,” in Johns words.

John got his first ever set of clubs February 26, 2014. He moved into a house that contained an old set of club left by the previous owner. Scott lived across the street and invited him to the range to hit some balls. Since about half went in the right direction, Scott joked, “That was good enough to be a Duffer” and referred him to Bill to sign up. Bill advised John to have a set of clubs fitted to his height which he did. “Guess those clubs worked for him,” quipped Bill, “maybe he can pull off a hole-in-one to go with the double eagle when he’s back in England this summer.”

We have a feeling John may just have something to tell us about when he returns.

Golf is a game! Have fun!