What Handicap?

A teen athlete keeps beating the odds
September 06, 2009

From the 13th teebox at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown, N.Y., 14-year-old golfer LilyEllis saw her ball sail over the pond and bounce onto the green of the115-yard, par-3 hole. It rolled a few feet and then disappeared—into the cup."I really didn't think it was a big deal," says Lily, who was bornwithout most of her left forearm and grips each club with only her right hand."I suppose I'm not the type of person who gets really excited, but everyoneelse was going crazy."

Including hermom, who was one of four witnesses to the hole in one on Aug. 19. "It wasone of those things like, Where'd it go?" says Sophie Ellis, who was toldduring an ultrasound that her unborn child had transverse partial hemimelia,which resulted in the incomplete formation of Lily's left arm. Lily, who hasbeen playing golf since she was eight, prefers not to wear her prosthesis.("It just feels better when I don't wear it," she says.) She also playstennis and is the goalie for her travel league soccer team.

Her father,Howard, the greens superintendent at Moon Brook and an 11-handicap, missedLily's ace but received a call from Sophie and raced over to the 13th greenwith a camera. Later that day he played the hole—and made double bogey.

PHOTOSCOTT KINDBERG (ELLIS)PIN POINT Playing without her prosthesis, Lily scored a hole in one on her home course.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)