Alta native: 3 holes-in-one in a season
Asked to assess his improved golf game, Alta native Chris Glienke isn’t shy about giving at least partial credit to the arrival of the coronavirus.
When COVID-19 reached the United States in March, Glienke - the assistant grocery manager at Fareway - admitted he was not hitting the links as much as he would have liked to.
As people began shuttering in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, Glienke began visiting Meadow Hills and other golf courses with more regularity.
The result? An improved golf game that has resulted in three hole-in-one shots at Meadow Hills since the month of March.
“Honestly, I did not golf as much prior to COVID. Last year I went to golf course probably 15-20 times the entire year, and maybe five the year before that,” Glienke said. “Now it’s become a passion of mine because I needed to find something to do that would get me out of my house. It helps to be single and not have a dog.”
Glienke moved to Iowa Falls in January to take his current position. During the day, he writes up schedules for employees, sets up store displays and makes sure everything is running smoothly.
During the afternoons, he is thinking about how to improve his golf game. Besides Meadow Hills, he plays at the Pine Lake Country Club (Eldora), as well as courses in Ames, Northwood and Story City. But he says Meadow Hills remains his favorite.
“Before this season, I was probably a double bogey or triple bogey guy, shooting in the 50s. Now, it’s like a seven high up from 36. Sometimes I will shoot a 45 and I think ‘that was bad.’ Compared to the start of this season, it’s amazing what I would now consider a good round for myself,” Glienke said.
During the summer, Glienke said he was on the golf course six days per week, and could feel his game expanding and improving with each visit to the links. Prior to his growing hobby, he would struggle with consistency on drives, wedge shots, and putting feel. Another improvement is his mental approach to the game.
Anger has been replaced with a calmer approach to his rounds.
“I like to play fast, so that’s why I’m more likely to play by myself. But now if I have a bad drive, I just shake it off and try to rectify that shot with a better second shot,” Glienke said.
Glienke’s kinship with Meadow Hills begins with what he believes is an accommodating course to play on. His first hole-in-one occurred on May 29. On Hole 8 (par 3), he was able to hit the ball that touched the noodle that extended from the cup.
His second hole-in-one occurred on the same hole on July 28. His third and final one happened on Oct. 11 on Hole 1 (Par 4).
“When I hit the first one, I drove up to the green and the ball was touching the noodle. My first thought was ‘great, I just hit a hole-in-one and there’s no one else here to vouch for me.’ I took a picture, but it still didn’t feel great without any witnesses,” Glienke said. “Honestly, the first one was luck, but the second two were right where I was aiming. That doesn’t mean you automatically get a hole-in-one, but it was a great feeling to do it a second and third time.”
Glienke said he has thought about entering individual golf tournaments that feature one-person two-ball best shot competitions. While he estimates working 50 hours per week at Fareway,he still finds the time to improve on the links. As the calendar nears winter, it also closes his window to play.
But all is not doom and gloom, as Glienke has another hobby to turn to.
“I play guitar in the winter, so I have something else to occupy my time before next spring. Then you will likely find me at a golf course somewhere,” he said.