Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Boxwell the Ace of Palm Valley

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Boxwell the Ace of Palm Valley

Article excerpt

Fred Boxwell has played golf most of his life. He learned at the age of 9 as a caddie at the Anacostia Golf Club in Washington D.C., and played enthusiastically and as often as he could through adulthood in Wisconsin, where he worked in a glass factory.

Then, at 70 years old, Boxwell scored golf's ultimate shot and magic number -- a hole-in-one -- at the ninth hole of the Palm Valley Golf Club, in the fall of 1994.

"It's one of those things you would like to get, but really don't think about," said Boxwell, who retired to Middleburg in 1990 and has worked at the Palm Valley pro shop on a part-time basis since the course opened nearly 10 years ago. "At the time, it didn't really excite me all that much."

But after more than 60 years of playing golf without a hole-in-one, Boxwell clearly has the knack now. Since making his first ace, he's scored four more, all at Palm Valley. The last one was in December, at the eighth hole. In between, he did it twice at the first hole and once at the sixth hole, leaving Nos. 2, 5 and 7 as the only par-3s at Palm Valley he hasn't aced.

"It's an amazing feat, to me," said Palm Valley owner Jack Hord. "He's played golf all his life, doesn't get a hole-in-one until he's past 70, and now he's got five. The joke around here is that Fred has always been a streaky putter, and now he's found a way to cure his putting problems."

Boxwell's routine seldom changes. He arrives at Palm Valley three times a week, plays nine holes before noon, then works in the shop checking customers during the afternoon. If anyone dismisses his streak of aces as bettering the law of averages -- seven of Palm Valley's nine holes are par-3s -- consider that the only golf Boxwell plays is those 27 holes a week.

"I could play more golf, but that's enough for me," he said. "Betty [his wife] likes me home. …

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