CRANBERRY TWP — Jake Bishop figured he had waited long enough.
So while golf courses in Pennsylvania remained closed last month, the Cranberry Township resident ventured to Reserve Run Golf Course in Poland, Ohio — and scored his first hole-in-one in 56 years.
That was the good news.
The bad news is he’s still two aces behind his bride of 60 years, Phyllis. She’s notched four holes-in-one in her golf career.
“Another step closer, I guess,” the 80-year-old Bishop said. “She’s gotten a few of them.”
Phyllis Bishop, 79, was playing alongside him April 27 when he used a 9-iron to score his ace on the No. 15, 121-yard hole. She didn’t see the shot, however.
“I felt so bad,” she said. “I was sitting down, going over my club choice, when I heard him say, ‘It’s in the hole!’ He was so excited and I missed it.”
Bishop remembered his first hole-in-one, on a 130-yard hole at Medina Country Club in Ohio in 1964.
“It took a couple of bounces and landed in the hole,” he recalled. “There was a lot of luck involved in that one.
“I had only been golfing for about a year at that point. I never thought I’d get another one.”
Bishop’s ace last month took one bounce and found the hole. He was hitting onto a terrace green.
“I knew I caught that one nice and straight,” he said.
His wife’s most recent ace occurred in 2015, also at Reserve Run. She sank hers on the No. 11 hole there.
Her other three holes-in-one happened in Florida.
“She had her four holes-in-one in a 15-year span. That’s unheard of,” Bishop said. “I brag about her to my friends quite a bit.”
The couple has played in leagues together. They play in separate leagues now — Jake at Hartmann’s Deep Valley, Phyllis at Suncrest — and golf together once or twice a week besides that.
“Yeah, we’re competitive with each other,” Bishop said. “She beats me every once in a while.
“I can never play from the seniors tee, though. Often times, that tee is pretty close to the women’s tee. I don’t think that’s right, either. I should have to hit from farther back.”
Mrs. Bishop makes sure he does.
“Oh, yeah ... move him back,” she said, laughing.
She has been a golfer for 35 years. A coed volleyball player until age 44, “I was getting a little old for that and had to find another sport.
“Jake was my mentor. I learned the game from him.”
Jake Bishop carded a 77 on that April 27 day, beating his age by three strokes. He’s beaten his age on the golf course many times before.
“I never did it until three or four years ago,” he said. “I’ve probably done it 30 or 40 times since then, about 10 times a year.
“Phyllis has beaten her age, too, probably does that twice a year.”
Besides golf, Jake Bishop is an avid game hunter and grew up playing football and baseball. He was part of a record-setting relay team in track and field for St. Clairsville (Ohio) High School.
“Being so competitive in sports growing up made Jake competitive as a golfer,” Mrs. Bishop said.
The couple met in high school. They have lived in the same house in Cranberry Township for 52 years. They didn’t mind driving into Ohio to get some golf in.
“It’s about a 50-minute drive for us to get to Reserve Run,” Mrs. Bishop said. “It’s a well-conditioned, beautiful course. But it’s nice to be able to play at home.”
And visualize shooting a hole-in-one.
“I actually had a premonition I was going to get that hole-in-one as I was teeing up the ball,” Bishop said of his most recent ace. “I stepped back for a second to clear my head. That thought was still in my brain and, believe me, I never think like that.
“I hit the ball and it happens. I’ll never forget what that felt like.”