Sam and Sharan Alford celebrate each wedding anniversary watching their beloved St. Louis Cardinals play in person.
The tradition might soon experience a hiatus, albeit a brief one.
On May 7, Sam Alford won an all-inclusive vacation at a Sandals Resort in the Caribbean by scoring a hole-in-one during the Hugh Andrews Memorial Golf Outing sponsored by Franklin College, his alma mater.
Using the reserve 4-wood mailed to him only days earlier by his son, Steve, the men’s basketball coach at UCLA, the Franklin resident covered the 172-yard 16th hole at The Legends Golf Course in a single shot.
It was Sam Alford’s first hole-in-one. He’s confident it’s his last.
“It felt good, but we couldn’t see it go in. There was a gentleman on the green, and he signaled ‘touchdown,’” said Alford, 73. “I really don’t play golf that much. I just enjoy the camaraderie and being outdoors.”
Upon approaching the 16th green, Alford noticed a large sign promoting the chance to win a new car. He eventually discovered that was for anyone who scored a hole-in-one on Hole No. 7.
Nonetheless, Alford was overjoyed to find out he and his bride of nearly 53 years would soon be sinking their toes into the sands of a Caribbean beach.
The golf ball, a Strata carrying the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame logo (of which Sam and Steve both belong having been inducted in 2002 and 2009, respectively), remains in Sam Alford’s possession.
The man, who for 29 seasons (1966-1995) coached boys basketball with 452 career victories to show for it with stops at Monroe City, Martinsville and New Castle, will showcase the ball in some way.
Alford didn’t pick up the sport until he after he retired as a coach eight years ago, having assisted Steve at Iowa and later at New Mexico from 1999-2007.
However, it’s the latest example of Alford’s accuracy.
As a Franklin College senior in 1963-64, he made good on 124 of 136 free-throw attempts (.912) to lead the nation in that category on his way to being named the Grizzlies’ Most Valuable Player.
For the hole-in-one, Sam and Sharan Alford could from among 14 Caribbean destinations. They selected a week’s stay in Montego Bay in Jamaica.
For Steve Alford, the 1983 Indiana Mr. Basketball who led Indiana University to the 1987 men’s basketball national title, mailing his old man a new golf club when he did might rank among his timelier assists.
“Steve always gets on me about not buying new golf equipment, but to me a club is a club and a ball is a ball,” Alford said. “Steve told me I might be getting something in the mail, and a week later I use it to hit a hole-in-one.
“Both Steve and (younger son) Sean are pretty good golfers, but neither one has ever had a hole-in-one.”
Score one for old dad.
For a family best known for finding the bottom of the net, Sam Alford found the bottom of the cup.