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Sharpshooter Arlo Hurlbut (third from left) and his friends celebrate magic during the BSSEF tournament on June 24. PHOTO BY DAVE PECUNIES

Local 16-year-old sinks a hole-in-one at BSSEF tournament 


Rain chilled Arlo Hurlbut as his foursome pulled up to the 17th hole at the Big Sky Golf Course on June 24. 

Eyeing the par three of about 140 yards, he reached first for his pitching wedge but thought better of it. Nine iron.  

“I kind of just got up there and hit it,” Hurlbut told EBS. He teed off first, and according to the “best ball” rules in play at the Big Sky Ski Education Foundation’s annual Swing into Summer tournament, his foursome teammates didn’t bother.  

“I thought it was over the green honestly,” Hurlbut said. “It landed in the front, pin was in the front, and it rolled in… We just got in the carts and drove to the green.” 

Hurlbut, 16 years old and a BSSEF freeride skier, has been playing some golf since he was little. He’s found a hobby in the game in the past three years. A rising junior at Discovery Academy, he might join the Lone Peak High School team next spring.  

After striking a hole-in-one to help his team combine for an overall score of 64, Hurlbut might be hearing from the coach.  

“Oh yeah, I think he should definitely play on the golf team next year,” said Tom Conway, golf pro at the Big Sky Golf Course who remembers giving a few lessons to a young Hurlbut.  

“That golf team over the years has varied in size,” Conway added. “Right now it’s starting to pick back up and more kids are playing on the team which is great. I think anybody who doesn’t already play a spring sport should be playing some golf for sure.” 

Hurlbut and Conway talked in the pro shop after Saturday’s round before Hurlbut escaped—it was the largest BSSEF tournament ever and Hurlbut didn’t want to stay for the awards.  

“He kind of got a little scared when he came in at the end, because everyone was going to be attacking him [with praise], so he left a little early,” Conway said.  

He added that Hurlbut’s hole-in-one means John Seelye of Big Sky Build will donate $5,000 to BSSEF—an annual promotion that rarely comes into play.  

The 17th hole is rated the second-hardest par three, and it’s the signature hole on the course.  

“Medium distance, framed by pine trees and the river. Prettiest hole on the course,” Conway explained.  

Hurlbut confirms the miracle of his doing. PHOTO BY DAVE PECUNIES

When Hurlbut’s dimpled ball dropped into the cup, his friends’ parents had just finished on 17. They doubled back to confirm the ace as Hurlbut and his friends Garin Staudt, Tate Bulis and Mac Bertelson approached the green.  

Hurlbut picked up the wooden stick indicating “closest to the pin” and placed it in the hole. For shooting closest to the 17th pin, he won a sweatshirt and a thermos. 

His friends told him to keep the ball, perhaps to frame it and cherish the moment forever.  

“On the next hole, I accidentally shanked it into the woods,” Hurlbut said. “I tried looking for it, but it was gone.”  

He doesn’t remember the ball he was playing. But he’s only 16—there’s plenty of time to strike another golden eagle.  

“My grandpa got one when he was 65,” Hurlbut said, when asked to share advice for the many lifelong golfers that haven’t had his luck.  

“I guess you just gotta keep playin’.” 

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