Al and Peggy Hanson have been married for 37 years, but the lifelong Duluthians don't measure their marriage in years so much as they do in holes-in-one.

As of today, that magic number is 5. A week ago it was 3. By the time you finish reading this it could be 6 or 7.

Al, 60, trailed his wife 2-1 on June 12 when he pulled the 6-iron out of his bag and aced the 145-yard No. 17 hole at Ridgeview Country Club.

Basking in euphoria, Al called Peggy, 57, moments later.

"We're finally even," Al told her.

"What do you mean?" was the reply.

"I got another hole-in-one. We're finally even."

To say he was excited is a par-5 understatement. Al Hanson had spent the past decade -- and then some -- trying to catch his bride in the Hanson Ace Race. He trailed 1-0 in 1999 when Peggy recorded her first hole-in-one during a practice round at a tourney in Brainerd (the only hole-in-one the Hansons have witnessed together).

Then Peggy widened her lead to 2-0 in 2001, notching her second ace on Ridgeview's par-3 No. 17.

And she made sure Al knew the score.

"It was always 'I'm ahead of you' yada, yada, yada," he said.

It took Al seven years, but he finally got on the board in August 2008 -- fittingly enough on Ridgeview's No. 17. Then last week he tied it up on the same hole.

Al 2, Peggy 2.

"I came home all jubilant," Al said. "For years I chased her. I was so happy that I got one (last week). When I left (for work) that next morning, I said, 'Well, it's women's league today. Go out and do your best.'"

She certainly did her best ... and was eager to tell him so when she called him around 1:30 p.m.

"You're not going to believe what happened," Peggy told Al. "You're down one."

"What?"

"I just had another hole-in-one!"

"What!?"

Poor Al was probably still gloating around the water cooler when his phone rang and Peggy explained how she aced Ridgeview's No. 3 hole --a 131-yard shot --with a 7-iron.

Al claimed a tie on June 12 but fell behind again on June 13.

"His bubble was burst pretty fast," Peggy said. "I thought the next call would be years away. My hands were shaking so bad when I had to call him. 'You're not going to believe this.'

"It took his breath away."

"We've got five in the family," Al said. "What are the odds?"

Astronomical, for sure. Al even bought a lottery ticket last week to see if he could stretch his good fortune into a small fortune. Turns out, his luck is best served on the links.

"My daughter (Katie) said, 'Mom, there are people that golf who never have a hole-in-one. How can you two have five?'" Peggy said. "How many people can say that?"

Fortunately for Al, he spends much more time on the golf course than on his La-Z-Boy, so Peggy's lead isn't too safe. As Ridgeview Country Club members for the past 24 years, the Hansons are as much at home on those greens as they are on the lawn at their Woodland home.

"We play a ton of golf," Al said. "This is something we can do together and enjoy."

Peggy agreed.

"Marriage and golf. It's a good combination."

Especially when the Hanson Ace Race adds some fun marital spice.

Contact News Tribune sports editor Rick Lubbers at rlubbers@duluthnews.com or (218) 723-5317.