May 20, 2010–The hole-in-one in golf has magical powers. And that magic was on full display last week at legendary Las Vegas golf course Cascata, where Chuck Buescher recorded aces on two par 3s in one round. Cascata is a Rees Jones-designed Las Vegas layout which is highly-rated by ZAGAT, and one of Las Vegas' best golf experiences. Not a bad place for Chuck to strike Las Vegas golf gold, twice in one round, and beat odds of 1 in 67 million.–By Brian Hurlburt.
Buescher, 65, was playing with four friends when he pulled out his Callaway Big Bertha 8-iron for the 139-yard shot on the picturesque par 3, 7th hole at Cascata. One swing later and Buescher, a longtime basketball coach in Peoria, Illinois, was on his way to hitting the golf jackpots in Las Vegas. Just five holes later, Buescher pulled out his Callaway Big Bertha 6-iron for the 150-yard shot on Cascata's par 3, 12th hole. Again, Buescher knocked it in the cup, going an astounding 4-under par on the two par 3 holes. "Unbelievable," was the simple word used by Buescher to describe the day. "But the terrific thing about the round is I shot a 74, which is a great round for me. I have been hitting the ball well this spring, and I guess I just finally put it all together." Buescher used a Titlest Pro V1x on the first shot before switching to a Titleist NXT for the second ace.
Buescher was part of a group of 24 players with ties to current Bradley University Head Basketball Coach Jim Les, who Buescher once coached. Chuck served as an assistant at Bradley before retiring. The group is made up friends from Sacramento, where Les played pro ball, and Illinois, where Bradley University is located. Buescher's son, Eric, is an assistant on Les' staff. The hole-in-one connection runs even deeper with Les because Chuck recorded his first-ever hole-in-one while Les and fellow Bradley star and NBA player Hersey Hawkins watched. That ace came about 15 years ago at the Country Club of Peoria. Buescher was running a basketball camp for the two, and golf was a part of the itinerary during off-camp hours. This time his group celebrated with a champagne toast in the beautiful Cascata clubhouse.
The group visits and plays Las Vegas golf courses each May, and this year the rotation included Rio Secco Golf Club, another Rees Jones course, and TPC Las Vegas, a former host site for the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Both the Jones Las Vegas golf courses are owned and operated by Harrah's Entertainment. Cascata recently was one of the highest-rated courses in America in a ZAGAT survey, and was once called "Golf's hidden treasure" by Sports Illustrated. Cascata and Rio Secco are both resort Las Vegas golf courses and open for all to play. Click now to view the official website of Rio Secco and Cascata, where you can reserve your official Las Vegas golf tee times and Las Vegas golf packages with the official course management.
"Going into that round, I was a 13.6 index, and I am an average golfer," said Buescher, via phone from Illinois a few days after the Las Vegas trip. "I had been struggling to score, but had been hitting it pretty well. For the first one, our caddie, Tom, told me we had about 130 yards to the pin, and for me these days that's an 8-iron. Tom had earned my trust because he was a great caddie so I believed the distance, and I hit a good shot and I was thrilled so see it land on the left side of the green. Then I leaned down to pick up my tee, and all of a sudden everybody started yelling and screaming. I truly never saw it go in!" The witnesses in the group were Keith Burcham, JR Runkel, and Pat Reilly.
About an hour later, Buescher pulled out the 6-iron when Tom told him he had about 150 yards to the flag on the 12th green. "I hit about the same shot and it landed on the left side of the green, but this time I decided to watch it," said Buescher iwth a chuckle. "Tom said, 'That could go in, too' when it started rolling towards the flag. Then the ball dissappeared and everyone started yelling again. I don't have the best eyes, but I saw it go in. But I didn't believe it until I asked Tom is he was sure it went in the hole. He said he was." The odds of an amateur recording two aces in one round are said to be about 67 million to one. "Tom told me that in about 12 years at Cascata he had seen three holes-in-one, and he just happened to see two of them on that day." No word on how Chuck fared on the green felts of the casinos, but our guess is that he had a hot hand for that one day in Las Vegas.