Chatham Resident Undergoing Chemo Sinks Hole In One At Cranberry Valley

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Golf , Cranberry Valley Golf Course

Chatham resident Doug Gorman, 70, bends down to retrieve his ball after hitting a hole in one at Cranberry Valley Golf Course on Aug. 29. COURTESY PHOTO

Anybody who regularly plays golf has likely pondered what it would be like to hit a hole in one. Doug Gorman is no different. The avid golfer has thought about that feeling for roughly 25 years — but more than just that, Gorman’s vision of his first hole in one has included him dropping dead once he retrieves the ball.

“I’ve always had this thing in my head that the perfect way to die is when I’m 81, I’d get a hole in one and walk up to the hole and drop dead,” said Gorman. “In numerology, you live your life in three 27-year segments, so 81 is the perfect time to die. After 81, you live off your positive or negative karma from what you did in your 81 years, which is theoretically how it goes.”

Gorman’s karma was put to the test Aug. 29 when he hit a hole in one — for real — at Cranberry Valley Golf Course. The 70-year-old was playing a round of golf with his brother-in-law, sister-in-law and a fourth gentleman added to their group when he pulled out his 5-iron and dropped his tee shot onto the green at hole No. 7.

Gorman lost sight of the ball after it bounced once on the green, which he said is located about 150 yards from the tee box.

“When I got there, I didn’t really know that it went in,” he said. “I looked around for it and knew it couldn’t have bounced far. It was exciting. It was a thrill.”

As if hitting a hole in one wasn’t enough, Gorman’s accomplishment comes during what has been a rocky year for the Bay State native. In May, he was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer, which kept him away from golf courses for the majority of the summer while he has undergone chemotherapy treatment.

Finally feeling strong enough to play nine holes at Cranberry Valley — where he’s been a member for about a decade — Gorman made his return to the course to break in a new pair of clubs he had purchased just prior to his diagnosis.

“I had ordered brand new clubs and in the time that they were ordered but not delivered, I found out I had the cancer,” he said. “So, they were sitting totally unused.”

The fact that the hole in one came using a 5-iron is another interesting wrinkle for Gorman, who said much of his childhood was spent swinging a 5-iron his father gifted him around the three-hole course in his childhood backyard in his hometown of Rehoboth.

As exciting as the achievement was for Gorman, the longtime golfer admits he was a little nervous. Despite being 11 years away from his target age of 81, the thought of his vision coming true was enough to make the Chatham resident pause before retrieving his ball.

“I’m looking at it like, ‘Do I dare bend down and pick this thing up?’” he recalled. “I’ve always had [the planned death] in my head, and when I’ve gotten close to a hole in one, I’d yell, ‘God! Not yet! Not yet!’”

Now Gorman has something to look forward to.

“Now I need another plan, or perhaps I can just wait 11 years for another hole in one with the planned result,” he said. “But then I remember the verified saying, ‘We plan, God laughs.’”

Email Brad Joyal at Twitter: @BradJoyal