The 5-iron in the golf bag of Bob Shalansky was a lonely club, one the 69-year-old almost never used.
Heck, the Charleroi resident might have just given the Cobra UFI club to someone who might have more of a need, but he didn’t. And on the 20th day of June at Lindenwood Golf Club, Shalansky was staring down the par-3, 165-yard No. 4 hole on the Gold Course. He thought he would give it a try. Shalansky was playing in an event for Habitat For Humanity and there was a $10,000 prize for a hole-in-one, something he had never achieved in his 50 years or so of playing this game.
“I only carry the club to get out of the woods,” said Shalansky, who shoots in the mid-80s on good days. “I decided to hit the 5-iron, and I never hit the 5-iron.”
The foursome knew about the prize money for a hole-in-one, but no one really thought they had a chance.
“There was a big sign on the hole but we didn’t pay much attention to it,” Shalansky said. “Who would have thought?”
Shalansky’s playing partners – Rich Fisher of Washington County, Carl Garner of St. Clairsville, Ohio, and Ed Victor of Uniontown – each took their turns and found the prize would not be theirs that day. Shalansky stepped up and uncorked a drive that bounced once, then rolled onto the green and into the cup for a hole-in-one.
And a prize of $10,000.
“Rich kept saying, ‘It’s getting closer. It’s getting closer,’” Shalansky said. “And it rolled in. Can you believe it? We were so excited about it.”
The hole was monitored by event staffers, who sat near the green. Waldron Wealth Management sponsored the hole and had taken out insurance to cover the cost of the payoff if someone such as Shalansky made the hole-in-one. It was the first time in the 11-year history of the event that this had happened.
“Afterwards, I wanted to buy everyone drinks,” Shalansky said, “but all the drinks were free. So I couldn’t even do that.”
But he had a great story to tell in the clubhouse and a phone call to make.
“I called my wife, Toni, who I have been married to for 45 years, and told her I won $10,000. And I told her that I felt bad because they were taking the 33 percent in taxes out of her half,” he said with a chuckle. “A little later, she called back because she didn’t believe me.”
Shalansky is a familiar face at events such as these. He estimates that he gets in 80 to 90 rounds of golf each year, including trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and many spots in Florida. He enjoys these events because of the causes they help support. He works at Fenner Dunlop, a company that produces among other products conveyor belt lines for the mining industry. He also owned the Italian Hall restaurant in Monessen for 28 years, just a few miles from his home in Charleroi.
Shalansky’s name was submitted to Calloway, which sent him a plaque to celebrate the event.
Other than that, life has not changed much for Shalansky. Well, at least one thing will.
“I’m looking at a new set of Ping’s,” he said.
Lone Pine event
The Lone Pine Country Club Ladies Golf Association will hold an event to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation Rally For The Cure Aug. 7 at the course on Park Avenue
“This is the first time we opened it up to anyone,” said J.R. Pond, club professional. “It’s always been an LGA event.”
Registration deadline is Monday. The entry includes breakfast, golf cart, prizes, locker room use and lunch following the round. The Captain’s Scramble begins with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and breakfast is at 8 a.m. Cost is $100 per golfer and $400 per team.
For more information, contact the course at 724-222-4700.
Burgettstown Alumni Reunion
The Burgettstown Area Scholarship Foundation will hold a Burgettstown Alumni Reunion Saturday at the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse in Burgettstown.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Any alumni is invited. Tickets for the event are $35 apiece and a silent auction will be held for various local items and athletic memorabilia. For more information, go to the Burgettstown School District website or call Jon Vallina at 724-947-2898.