Cooperstown local Bill Deane hit a hole-in-one on Sept. 17 on the Stonegate Golf Course in West Winfield.
“There was a high-five, and maybe he let out a whoop,” said his friend Greg Crowell, describing Deane’s reaction to achieving every golfer’s fantasy shot. “Bill’s a low-key kind of guy. I’ve seen him show more emotion from a bad shot than a good one.”
Crowell said he understood his friend’s low-key reaction. Hitting a hole-in-one is always unexpected and there is always disbelief.
Deane confirmed that they both looked in the hole to check for the ball before they were sure it really happened.
He and Crowell were on the 15th hole, when Deane pulled his pitching wedge to hit a shot of about 110 yards. The ball hit the green and disappeared. Although the friends had golfed together on a weekly basis for years, this was their first experience with a hole-in-one up close.
Deane modestly described himself “as a pretty mediocre golfer,’ although Crowell’s admission that they sometimes score in the 80’s implies otherwise.
Like many in our area, Deane’s real passion is baseball. It was a job at the the National Baseball Hall of Fame that brought him from Duchess County in 1986.
The author of six books, his most recent, “Baseball Myths: Debating, Debunking and Disproving Tales From the Diamond,” was published last year.
Deane’s widespread knowledge stems from years as the senior research associate at the HOF as well as holding the position of managing editor of Total Baseball. The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) has honored him with several awards.
In spite of his feelings for baseball, Deane said on most weekend he is on the Stonegate Golf Course, an 18 hole course overlooking the historic Unadilla Valley.
According to Diane Stevens, who owns the club with her husband Ernest, they draw players from throughout the area. Stevens said the club has a plaque made for golfers who have hit the elusive hole-in-one. Once they are carved, the golfer can either take the plaque home, or have it hung on the clubhouse wall, which is the tradition.
“Bill’s plaque is being made right now,” Stevens confirmed.