There are all types of obstacles on the golf course. Golfers have to deal with sand traps, water hazards, and the occasional sinkhole. Yes, sinkholes. A golfer in Illinois survived a mid-round surprise when the ground disappeared beneath his feet.
Mark Mihal was golfing at the Annbriar Golf Course on Friday when a sinkhole opened up on the 14th hole.
Mihal, who is the co-founder of GolfManna.com, said: “I was standing in the middle of the fairway… Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground… I felt the ground start to collapse and it happened so fast that I couldn’t do anything. I reached for the ground as I was going down and it gave way, too. It seemed like I was falling for a long time. The real scary part was I didn’t know when I would hit bottom and what I would land on.”
According to STL Today, Mihal fell into a hole about 18 feet deep and 10 feet wide. The hole at the top, however, was just large enough for a golfer to fall through.
Philip Moss, a geologist who studied the hole, said: “It’s a gradual process that creates a void in the soil… Over time, (the void) migrates upward through the soil to where the soil arch gets too thin to support the weight of what’s over it, and it collapses… This guy just really was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The golfer survived the sinkhole but said that getting out was quite difficult since everyone was worried about the ground opening up again. Mihal dislocated his shoulder during the fall, so his friend Ed Magaletta had to climb down into the sinkhole in order to get him out.
Mihal said that the scariest part about the incident was knowing that sinkholes have been fatal in the past. Earlier this month, a man in Florida died when a sinkhole opened up beneath his house.
Mihal said: “That certainly went through my mind when I was down there… It looked like it was more room to go down (in the hole). I wasn’t too happy to be in there.”