Local Sports

A Special Moment Shared

SEBRING - A hole-in-one is something to savor. A perfect shot always is, and whether you witness the ball going in the hole, or simply find it in the bottom of the cup when you reach the green, the moment is priceless. For 87-year-old Everett Ohrt, who has Macular degeneration, his hole-in-one was a family affair, as son-in-law Tom Solyntjes helped line up his shot on the fateful day of July 7 at Sebring Golf Club. "Tom's my eyes on the golf course," said Ohrt. "He helps me get lined up and tells me where the ball goes because I don't see very well anymore. "I've played golf for more than 50 years and I just love the exercise and being outside.
"I used to hunt and fish when I was younger, but now I just play golf." Ohrt, who has had open-heart and colon surgery, used a driver to ace the tough par 3 fifth hole, which was playing 125 yards that day. "The ball landed on the front of the green, rolled toward the cup and then it disappeared," said Solyntjes. "Everett asked me where the ball went and I told him we better go take a look because I thought it might be pretty close. "We drove up to the green and didn't see the ball anywhere and Everett looked in the hole and there it was." "I could hardly believe it," said Ohrt. "I said Tom the ball is in the hole and he let out a yell and the people on number four must have thought we were crazy." Since Ohrt lives on the sixth hole at Sebring Golf Club, the happy duo went to his house and then celebrated his amazing feat with ice ream cones at Dairy Queen. The hole-in-one was Ohrt's second of his golfing career. "My first hole-in-one was on a par 3 course in Wisconsin with my dad more than 50 years ago," said Ohrt. "This hole-in-one is better because my great granddaughter was born about 45 minutes after I hit the shot. "It was a great day for the entire family." Ohrt moved to Sebring in 1972 after spending 20 years in the radio and television industry in Minnesota and started Ohrt's Mobile Home Park. "This was a really small town back then," said Ohrt. "Running the park was a big change from working as an electronic engineer at different radio and television stations. "I was also a program director at the radio station and a sales manager. "But after all those winters up north, my wife Florene and I decided to move down here." When he isn't playing golf, Ohrt stays busy talking as an amateur radio operator. "I talk to people all over the world," said the Minnesota native. "I have people I talk to on a regular basis each week and talking on the radio keeps my mind active." Solyntjes, who has been married to Jennifer Ohrt and helped to run the mobile home park for 34 years, had his own hole-in-one in 2003. "It was on Thanksgiving Day and we went out to get some exercise," said Solyntjes. "After not playing for a few months, I went out and aced the third hole. "It just shows anyone can make a hole-in-one." Ohrt's wife of 65 years, Florene, has also had an ace at Sebring Golf Club. "She is a good golfer and we play together when we can," said Ohrt. "It's important for older people to exercise and stay active. "Even when I don't play golf, I walk a lot because that's a part of staying healthy." When Solyntjes isn't available, brother-in-law Jim Ohrt aids Everett on the golf course. "I enjoy spending time with Everett," said Solyntjes. "We've been in business together for 34 years and never had a cross word. "He's my father-in-law, my best friend and my mentor." What's next for Ohrt on the links? "I just want to keep making solid contact on my shots," said Ohrt. "Every day on the golf course is a blessing and something I look forward too."

Mark Pinson may be reached at 863-386-5837 or mpinson@highlandstoday.com