Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Scariest Golf Course Hazard: Sinkholes

You might argue that alligators and crocodiles are the scariest golf course hazards. Or baboons in South Africa. Or bears in Canada. Or sharks (really) in Australia. Or lightning. But I suggest that the scariest golf course hazard of them all is this one: sinkholes.

You could be standing over a sinkhole at any time, at any place on a golf course, without having any clue of the danger. An unseen, unanticipated danger - until the ground opens up beneath you!

And, really, what's the ruling?

You might think this is in jest, but a golfer last week in Illinois was, in fact, swallowed by a sinkhole! It happened on a golf course in Waterloo, Illinois:

It sure wasn’t the hole-in-one Mark Mihal had in mind.

While golfing with friends at the Annbriar Golf Course near here Friday, Mihal, 43, a mortgage broker from Creve Coeur, abruptly dropped into the ground on the fairway of the 14th hole. It was the first time a person — and not a ball — has disappeared beneath the turf in the course’s 20-year history.

... “I was standing in the middle of the fairway,” Mihal said Monday. “Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground.”

Mihal slipped through the small caved-in opening and dropped 18 feet in a space about 10 feet across. Rescuers quickly arrived and managed to hoist him out with a rope. He managed to escape with a separated shoulder and an amazing story.

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