Golfer scores an ace at charity tourny

Sports By Linda Trischitta, Editor Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    A Cleveland man came to Miami Lakes and said he left with a golf memory for all-time.

    JaMaaL E. Birkett, 74, made a hole-in-one on the par-3 5th hole at Miami Lakes Golf Club on July 8. 

    He was among 32 players from the Good Deeds International organization in Atlanta and the Majestic Gents from Chicago who were competing in a charity tournament.

     Birkett’s playing partners were Rodney Mack of Detroit, Sabrina Norwood of Land O’Lakes, Fla., and Melde Rutledge, also of Florida. 

     The club confirmed the ace. Birkett used a gap wedge for the shot.

     “Everybody was holding their breath as we watched it disappear into the hole,” Birkett said. “I felt like the king of the weekend.”

     Birkett said he was a bit of a celebrity during the weekend’s events, including a dinner dance on Saturday night.

     “Word spread around,” he said.

     His foursome performed well, too. Norwood won the longest drive for the event’s female players. Birkett won closest to the pin -- an obvious winner since no shot can get closer to the hole than an ace. 

     “It’s always exciting any time you have a hole-in-one, to be around someone who gets one, to be a part of that experience,” he said.

     It was Birkett’s second ace, he said, joining one he made at a course in the Cleveland area seven or eight years ago.

     The trophy ball from this summer’s round has joined the first souvenir ball on Birkett’s mantle. 

     He has played the game for 20 years and has a 17 handicap. 

    Birkett retired as manager of recreation in Cleveland and is a veteran who served in Europe during the Vietnam era as a Specialist 5th Class with the 75th Infantry and Special Forces Reconnaissance Unit, as a radio telecommunications officer, he said.

     Birkett enjoyed his visit to town.

     “It was a wonderful course and the first time I ever played it,” he said. “My compliments to the golf club for excellent course conditions.”