Teen golfer nailed the drive on number eight — but he's too young to drive the SUV he won

Ethan Hawes, 14, won a car in a hole-in-one contest at a Maple Leaf Junior Tour event held in September 2019 at RedTail Landing. (Submitted by Steve Hawes)

For an average golfer, the odds are about 12,000 to one of making a hole-in-one. 

For 14-year-old Ethan Howes, the odds — and the golf gods — were on his side when he aced a hole during a junior recent tournament and won an SUV he’s not old enough to drive.

“From what we’ve been told, he’s the first junior in Canadian golf history to win a car with a hole-in-one,” Ethan’s dad, Steve, told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM on Wednesday. “But whether that is actually accurate, I have no clue.”

According to organizers of the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour, the Fort Saskatchewan golfer is the first to win the hole-in-one contest in the four years since its inception.

The winning shot came on Sept. 8, the cold, rainy and windy second day of the MJT’s stop at RedTail Landing in Nisku. Howes was pretty sure he’d come up short on the 161-yard eighth hole.

His first clue that he’d sunk it came from a tournament official who was monitoring the hole.

“There was some lady in a cart way ahead going bananas,” he told Edmonton AM on Wednesday. “I looked at my dad, back at the green, back at my dad. … And my group mate says, ‘You just won a car.’ And I started running around.”

Ethan Howes, left, and his dad Steve spoke to CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM about the teen golfer’s hole-in-one that won him an SUV. (Kim Nakrieko/CBC News)

Howes was given the choice of either a 2018 or 2019 Ford EcoSport; he said he took the older model because “then I could get it totally decked out.”

Which, of course, leads to the question of what will happen to the SUV.

Like many 14 year olds, Howes is in the process of getting his learner’s permit, which allows him to drive if accompanied by a licensed adult in the vehicle. When he turns 16, he can get a licence and drive alone. 

He actually won’t take possession of Ford until next week. 

“It’s caused a few discussions in the house about what we’re going to do with it,” said Steve Howes. “We’ll keep it to start with, just so he can enjoy it. Because it is pretty neat that he got to win it. And then we’ll decide later what we’re going to do.”

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