Adele Sanford was hoping to focus on consistency and confidence when she teed off at her local club championship on Sunday.
She had no idea she was about to accomplish one of the most spectacular feats the Canmore Golf and Curling Club has ever seen.
“This was my third tournament ever,” Sanford said. “My past couple of tournaments I’ve gotten super nervous and completely messed up. This one, I just wanted to beat my last score.”
The 14-year-old picked up golf in the summer of 2021, inspired to get serious by her competitive friends.
She was putting together a solid round when she stepped up to the 12th hole, the last of her group to tee off.
“Everyone hit pretty good shots- some of them were on the green, some were just barely off,” Sanford recalled. “I just teed up and I thought it was just like any other par three. I wasn’t really expecting anything. But once I hit the ball, I thought, ‘Oh, wow, that’s a good shot.’ I didn’t think it was going to go in.”
The ball came up just shy of the green, bounced, and rolled into the cup.
Her first-ever hole-in-one.
“I was in shock,” Sanford said. “Everyone else was jumping around and I was standing there looking at the ball.
“After that, I was like, I don’t really care how I play. I got a hole-in-one. I think this is a win!”
Sanford’s friends excitedly shared the story with passing groups and cheered her on with every passing shot.
By the time she stepped up to hole 15, word of the feat spread like wildfire across the links.
“They were like, ‘Imagine you get another hole-in-one. That’d be crazy,” Sanford said. “By that point, everyone was watching. I hit that one dead straight and I thought ‘holy smokes, that’s going to go in.’ And it did.”
“The first hole-in-one was I felt was kind of lucky. Then the second hole-in-one I just proved myself and I ended up being very happy with that.”
Canmore Golf and Curling Club staff say the accomplishment is incredibly rare.
So rare, in fact, Sanford’s mom thought it was a joke.
Kim Sanford had been out of cell service most of the day when a friend relayed the news.
‘She said, ‘there’s two,’ and I thought, now, you don’t even know how to play golf. That’s impossible. It didn’t happen,” Kim Sanford, a golfer herself, laughed. “I got pretty teary when I found out it was true. I’ve been golfing since I was a kid and I’ve never hit a hole-in-one. It’s pretty amazing.”
Those on the course were quick to draw comparisons to Canadian golf great Brooke Henderson, who happens to be Sanford’s hero.
Sanford hopes to keep honing her craft and one day join the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).
In the meantime, it’ll make a heck of a story when she starts Grade 9 in September.