Years ago, when I was fit as a goat, I teamed up with my diehard golf buddies on June 21, the summer solstice, and played 36, 45, and even 54 holes. We would start at dawn and return to the clubhouse at nightfall, exhausted but triumphant. Our noble efforts were soon rewarded with a frothy pitcher of cold ale that must have been brewed at Heaven’s Gate.

Those cherished days are well behind me, but I kept my golfing custom until the solstice dusk. So, on the equinox just after, I played nine holes that morning as a freshman at Berkshire Hills Country Club and returned at 7 p.m. to finish my game, as well as carry on my tradition.

It was my typical dull shot outing until I got to the short, 128-yard par-3 17th hole, located on its high plateau. Just when I was ready to play, BHCC friend and colleague Tom Daly strolled into the fading light with a golf bag slung over his shoulder, heading to his nearby house on Allengate Avenue.

“Hey, Tom, do you want to play till 17?”

“Of course,” he replied. “This is where I hit my hole-in-one in May 2017 with a 6 iron. Have you ever had one?”

“Yes, the 8th in Pontoosuc, in 2012”, I replied proudly. “I was playing with my son, Eamonn, on the eve of my 63rd birthday. Some chills, especially since the odds of getting an ace are 12,500 to one.

“Do you still have the ball?”

“Are you kidding! It’s mounted on my wall at home. How about you?”

“Yes, retired safely. Do you know that our 93-year-old multiple club champion, Bob Ahlen, still shooting in the 80s, carded 10 aces in his fabulous career? Yes, 10! Then we have members who have been playing here for 60 years, and they don’t have one yet.

After hearing how Tom had hit a 6 iron to score his rare ace on this hole, I swapped my 7 iron for a 6 and sent my ball soaring into the lingering light. It was the softest shot of the evening, the ball landing softly on the green and taking a favorable bounce towards the pin.

“It’s going to be tight,” Tom said, hitting his own ball just short of the front trap.

When I got to the elevated green, I found my ball was nowhere in sight. However, what often happens to the 17 is that your ball rolls over its slippery putting surface and lands in the high, rough, or deep bunker.

As Tom hit his approach shot, I continued to run around the outside edges of the green, and even places where my ball couldn’t be. Heart pounding, I finally concluded that my ball must be in the hole. At that moment, Tom gave me a shout, wildly waving the flag in my direction. “Hey, Kev, looks like you’ve got another hole in one!”

Ecstatic, I crawled to the hole on all fours and looked into the cup to see my Bridgestone 2 shining towards me – a sight as dazzling as any star. I pulled out my ball and held it up to the darkening sky, proclaiming, “Thank you, Tom, for dropping by unannounced!”

“Glad to have helped,” he laughed, congratulating me with a flurry of high-fives. “Now you need to report your hole-in-one to the Mass Golf Association. In return, they’ll send you a nice medallion for your golf bag and enroll you in their official “Hole in One Club.” ‘include my name. As you know, if you don’t have a witness, your ace doesn’t count.

“I understood!” I said, tucking the Bridgestone in my pocket for safekeeping, a golf ball to be encased and admired for all my days.

Following our fortuitous meeting, Tom resumed his little way back. Little did he know he would score his second ace four days later at the Waubeeka Golf Links in Williamstown. Talk about good karma!

For my part, I dragged the final fairway in a stupor, as I replayed that unlikely shot over and over in my head. By the time I reached the 18th green, fireflies were blinking madly in the deep gloom. But on that magical summer night, I thought they were a gallery of fans applauding my unlikely achievement.