Glenwood Springs senior sinks hole-in-one during competition in Montrose

Taylor Cramer
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Glenwood Springs High school's Garrett Exelbert, a member of the Basalt golf team, holds the ball that he used to sink a hole-in-one at the Montrose Invitational on Aug. 24, 2023, at Cobble Creek.
Courtesy photo

In a stunning display of skill and precision, Glenwood Springs High School senior Garrett Exelbert sank a hole-in-one on Aug. 24 at the Montrose Invitational, hosted by Cobble Creek Golf Course.

Playing for the Basalt High School boys golf team — a coalition of talent from Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs and Basalt high schools — Exelbert targeted hole No. 7, a 160-yard par-3, and watched as the ball disappeared onto the green.

“We had the wind in our face so I clubbed up to an eight iron,” Exelbert recounted. “I saw the ball going right for the pin but then it disappeared. I didn’t know what happened until I saw Noah Richmond’s parents celebrating.”

Richmond is a fellow senior from Montrose High School.

Basalt’s assistant coach and former head coach, Travis Stewart, expressed his excitement.

“To be there and to have him make a hole-in-one in a competitive environment was just awesome,” Stewart said. “It’s not something you expect to see at a high school competition.”

The ace was the third of Exelbert’s career, though it marked his first during an official competition. He closed the day with a commendable second-place finish, shooting 5-under-par 67. Basalt also placed second as a team with 6-over-par.

Exelbert’s recent game improvements are noteworthy. This year, he embarked on a mission to redefine his swing. 

“I’ve been waiting to see the numbers that I have wanted to with this new swing I have been working on this year,” Exelbert said. “I was finally able to piece it all together and it ended up being a memorable day for me.”

In his quest for more power and accuracy, Exelbert adjusted his approach, focusing on leveraging strength from his lower body. The outcome has been nothing short of impressive.

“The distance and control of my swing is awesome,” Exelbert said.

His drive has increased from 260 yards to a robust 310 yards since last year. Stewart provided insight into Exelbert’s training and progress. 

“Garrett has been a solid performer for us since he joined the high school golf program,” Stewart said. “He’s worked really hard this past offseason on his game and left the state tournament last year with some momentum. This offseason, he realized what he needed to improve on and went to work.”

While Exelbert’s ambition is evident on the course, it’s his passion for the game that drives him to excel. With dreams of playing in college, he has taken his game to the next level. 

“My goal is to play in college and I knew I didn’t have the swing or power to play at the higher level,” Exelbert revealed.

He’s been in discussions with several schools, including Methodist University, Ottawa College and Puget Sound University.

“If I can continue to piece my game together and clean up the minor mental mistakes, I think there is a decent chance I will be able to continue my golf career, which has always been a goal for me,” Exelbert confided.

Looking forward, Exelbert is laser-focused on his final season with the Basalt golf team. 

“I have never been this excited for a season of golf,” he said. “Last year this team fell just short and with the improvements this team has made, I think we have a great chance to make a run for a championship.”

In the end, Exelbert’s achievement at the Montrose Invitational is just a hint of what’s to come. With a history of top placements, including twice in the Colorado state championships, and another second-place finish at the recent Central High School Warriors Invitational, fans and peers eagerly anticipate his next move.

For the Basalt team and for Exelbert, the season continues with the Vail Mountain Invitational at the Vail Golf Club this Tuesday. Given his trajectory, all eyes will undoubtedly be on Exelbert.