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Burrows, 80, has had six holes-in-one

Marilyn Burrows, 80, of Albuquerque, stands on the green of Cheena No. 5 at the Santa Ana Golf club where she has had four of her six aces on the course. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

It didn’t take long for Marilyn Burrows to figure out the best way to buy drinks for everyone, which is expected after hitting a hole-in-one.

After her first ace, she realized what she could do if she ever accomplished the feat again, because she did. Again, and again, and again, and again. Six times.

That Burrows, she’s a clever one.

“I now buy pitchers of beer and pitchers of soda pop,” said Burrows, an 80-year-old Albuquerquean who has had all her holes-in-one at Santa Ana Golf Club. “For one thing it’s less expensive, and the other thing it’s much faster for the workers at the bar and grill to fill a pitcher than to pour each drink.”

Burrows buried her latest hole-in-one on April 20, on the 100-yard, par-3 Cheena No. 5. That was the fourth time she aced that hole. The first time she holed Cheena 5 was on April 15, 2006. That was when she learned to buy pitchers instead of separate drinks for everyone.

Three weeks earlier, she collected her first hole-in-one. It came on Tamaya No. 6 from 115 yards out.

She was playing with her husband, John, along with another couple they did not know.

“The other fellow in our group said, ‘Did that go in?'” Burrows said. “I said I didn’t know because there was a little hill in front of the hole. He went running up there and sure enough that was my first one.”

Burrows had to wait a while after sinking two aces in less than a month in 2006. Four years later, she connected for an ace on Star 4. It was the farthest of them all, 125 yards.

“All of them were reasonable shots; I didn’t just hit it,” Burrows said. “But there’s an element of luck whenever you hit a hole-in-one. Your ball might’ve hit a divot on the green. Any number of things might’ve happened.”

Golf was not all too kind to Burrows earlier in her life. But she still decided to take up the game again in the fall of 2001 upon retiring as a manager in the president’s office for 20 years at University of New Mexico, where she worked for seven presidents.

“The only other time I had tried to play golf was when I was a youngster,” she said. “I went out one time with my parents and I could not even make contact with the ball. And I thought: This is a stupid game. I’m not going to play it. Basically I never played again until I retired.”

Burrows wanted to give golf another try because she saw how much her husband loved the game, and she thought it was something they could share.

Through practice and the encouragement from her husband and her instructor Bob Lowry, Burrows came to enjoy the game. She played golf with her husband, but mostly with her friends and then practiced on her own. She would share her golf stories with her husband.

They were married for 57 years. John died in 2015.

They had three girls and one boy, and lived in Sacramento, Calif., Oregon, and in Dora. John taught agriculture. When they both worked at UNM, he was the associate director of housing.

They met when they were students at New Mexico State. John studied agriculture, and she majored in business.

“We just got acquainted,” she said. “We ate in the cafeteria and we would sit at tables and just talk.”

Naturally she misses him now. Golf has been there as a release, and for comfort. She enjoys playing with friends, and she still plays a weekly round with Lowry.

“Bob is such an excellent instructor, and my husband was so encouraging,” Burrows said. “He was always a cheerleader, so to speak. Between the two of them I just got hooked on golf. I enjoy practice. I have done a lot of practicing through the years. It’s been a good life for me. The other neat thing about it is I have met so many nice people. I have a group of women friends that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

And, of course there’s Lowry, who also has five aces.

He said Burrows showed her competitive side when she tied him with five aces and they would race to No. 6.

“So here comes the text with the picture of her,” said Lowry, who retired 10 years ago after working as an instructor at Santa Ana for 21 years. “The message: ‘Six hole-in-ones. You better get on it.'”

When she first started learning from Lowry, he said that she told him she just wanted to learn enough so that she would not embarrass herself. But two months later, she came back to Lowry and told him he had his work cut out for him because she had signed up for a tournament.

Burrows played in an ABCD tournament, which features foursomes with the lowest scorer as the “A” player, and second lowest as “B,” and so on. She finished as the “A” player and led her team to win the tournament.

Early on, while learning from Lowry, Burrows audio recorded the lessons and later asked questions again for confirmation.

“She was out there practicing almost every day,” he said. “She made me a far better instructor than I had a right to be because she held me on those notes. She’s a special lady. Determined. Confident. Very giving. Competitive.”

Lowry’s wife recently retired. He still helps others with their golf game. But he does his best to set aside Tuesdays to work with Burrows on her game at Santa Ana.

She said if she never gets another hole-in-one, she will be happy.

“In fact, I would give up one of those hole-in-ones in order to play consistently well every day,” she said.

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