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New club nets pair of aces

Joe Battagliese's golf season was somewhat delayed this year because of a medical procedure. The 73-year-old from Deer Park required what he called "a little electrical tuneup" on his heart. It worked.

He is playing regularly now. "My doctors," he said, "love that I'm going out to play golf."

The folks at the 19th hole probably love it even more. Battagliese made a hole-in-one May 28 during an outing with fellow former transit workers at LaTourette Golf Course on Staten Island. And then he made another one June 24 with his regular group at Bergen Point Golf Course in West Babylon. He hadn't had an ace in many years.

Both aces came off the same club, his new 31-degree Snake Eyes Quick Strike hybrid, a custom club from Golfsmith. Battagliese said he was especially interested in a shaft with more flex. Why did he spring for the club in the first place? "I wanted it for the par 3s," he said, "for the accuracy." You can't get more accurate than getting the ball in the hole.

Most important is that he feels well. He is happy he had the procedure earlier this year. "Everybody is coming up to me, rubbing my chest," said the man who feels lucky.

A different game

Starting New at Golf - SNAG - is a colorful program designed to attract youngsters to the game. The ball travels only 50 yards and there are only two clubs, a Launcher (for long shots) and a Roller (what you might call a putter). The goal in SNAG is not to put a ball in the hole, it is to hit the above-ground cylinder at the base of a Flagsticky. A three-day SNAG clinic will be held at Spring Lake Golf Club, Middle Island, July 13-15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (lunch is included). Call (631) 924-5115 or visit www.snaggolf.com.

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