Local golfer aces the game

Jack Baker isn’t perfect, but he has achieved perfection. Nine times to be exact.

Baker has scored nine holes-in-one during the more than 40 years he’s been golfing. He has a reasonable approach to the astounding feat.

“The holes-in-one are strictly luck,” Baker said. “Pars are a whole lot harder to do than a hole-in-one.”

His latest ace came at Twin Pines. Baker aced the 168-yard par-3 No. 12 hole, using a 5-iron. It was his second hole-in-one at Twin Pines and the seventh confirmed in his career. The 65-year-old from Cedar Rapids has two unconfirmed, meaning there were no witnesses.

“I’ve had a couple pretty cool ones over the years,” said Baker, a “semi-retired” psychologist, who works with golfers on issues including Attention Deficit Disorder, anger management, visualization and nutrition.

Among those was his first hole-in-one at Twin Pines in 2001 when he double-eagled its par-4 No. 10 hole. He even followed it with a eagle on the next hole in one of his more memorable rounds.

“Yeah, that was a shocker,” Baker said about the double-eagle. “I had a pretty sterling round. I think I shot 67 that day.”

The other came on the No. 3 hole at TPC at Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. It was the first hole-in-one at the course opened in 2000. A plaque with Baker’s name is on display, honoring the feat.

Baker said he began golfing in his 20’s and now golfs about four times a week. He was quick to answer that he has a five handicap, but said that doesn’t mean anything. Baker is a regular at the city courses and named Saddleback Golf Course in Solon and Pleasant Valley Golf Course in Iowa City as a couple of his other favorite courses.

Twin Pines PGA Head Professional Gary Louvar is familiar with Baker, noting he works a lot on swing fundamentals.

“It can be ever so often he just puts that perfect swing together and that’s what happens,” Louvar said about the numerous aces. “Perfect swing, perfect club selection. Whatever it takes to make it go.”

It’s worked at different courses and different states, beginning with his first official one at Quail Creek Golf Course in North Liberty in 1987. He’s carded aces at courses in Colorado and Illinois. The feats don’t get old but there is a constant reaction.

“They’re kind of funny because you don’t get to see them go in,” Baker said. “As a psychologist thinks about it, I was stunned. You kind of go, ‘Holy crap.’ ”

Baker has the golf ball from each ace that he said has been made with low-to-medium irons. That includes the two unofficial aces he’s had at Jones and Gardner (then Squaw Creek) Golf Courses. Baker said that anyone can get an ace, but if no one sees it then it doesn’t mean anything.

“I looked around and prayed for someone to be around and not a soul,” Baker said. “It’s terrible … If someone doesn’t see it, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a two.”

Louvar said he couldn’t believe it when Baker informed him his latest was officially No. 7. Louvar only has one in his career and knows golfers of 40 and 50 years who have never done it.

“I would say it’s very rare. You have a lot of your tour players that don’t even have that,” Louvar said. “I know there’s a lot of people that play their entire career and never have one.”

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