GALION – A Galion golfer scored a hole-in-one with his latest find. A golf ball as special as the love he shared with his 43-year-old wife.
Mike Laughery was playing at one of his favorite courses in the area, Woody Ridge in Shelby this spring, when he spotted a white ball in the muddy creek of hole number 7. It had a red heart and a message – I LOVE YOU. He calls it his “Eternal Ball”.
In his heart, Laughery knows that he was destined to find the “Heart Ball” and that it was placed there by his late wife Denise “Dennie”, who died in 2017. The two, who have always been inseparable, were more than 40 years old.
He played golf; she was looking for lost balls.
“She knew the place, she knew the forest, and she knew where the good-looking places were,” said Laughery, 70 who had seen one and I think she sent it to me. ”
The couple have amassed quite a collection over the years. A basement full of balls, all neatly stacked in egg boxes on the ping pong table: Srixon, Titleist, Callaway, and more. Never for sale. Only for giving away to family, friends and neighbors.
“We were sitting here in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon and she said, ‘Would you like to play golf?’ and I said, ‘You really just want to hunt for golf balls, don’t you?’
I thought it was the second best way to be together on a golf course. We both had fun. ”
Dennie usually dragged dozens with her. A record of 130 balls in one afternoon. Laughery cleaned, scrubbed and sorted. The good ones were sorted by brand and color. The rest were returned to the golf course for them to use on the driving range.
“I bought her a ball retriever to run around the lakes and get balls out,” said Laughery.
“I didn’t buy a golf ball. I think I have never bought a golf ball before.
She always looked after me. “
The two, who were married on June 22, 1974, began their tradition when they drove to a resort in Pennsylvania for their three-year anniversary celebration. Dennie had taken a few golf lessons without his knowledge, so she surprised him on the first day on the nine-hole course.
However, after a couple of holes, the game turned sour. Laughery said he was quick to spot flaws in her driving, putting, and even her choice of clubs.
“I was young, I was stupid, and I can’t believe I didn’t have all the clubs wrapped around my neck when we finished.”
From then on, Dennie left her bag behind. Instead, she was addicted to the hunt.
Since her death after a two-year battle with cancer, Laughery has faithfully adopted the ritual.
He walks into the rough off the fairways and past the greens to keep an eye out for strays. In this way, he complements the collection and continues its legacy.
“I keep doing it just to do it for her,” he said. “I have to come home with at least one, yes. Sometimes when the ground is soft they pocket, but most of the time you have to walk into the forest or look into the ponds. Most guys know. They will say: ‘Well, have you found your ball yet?’ ”
This golfer definitely has, and he’s a keeper. No matter how you “cut” it.