Illinois Golfer Swallowed by 18-Foot Sinkhole, Sand Traps Suddenly Innocuous

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 12, 2013

Photo Credit: GolfManna.com
Photo Credit: GolfManna.com

You can add 18-foot sinkholes to the list of potential hazards looming at golf courses. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 43-year-old Mark Mihal was golfing with buddies at Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill. when he was suddenly swallowed up whole by the earth. 

Well, that might be a more dramatic description of what went down, but it's fitting.

The mortgage broker was just minding his own business on the fairway of hole No. 14 when he suddenly disappeared into the ground, falling into a hole that measured roughly 18 feet deep and 10 feet wide. 

Fortunately, Mihal was in good spirits despite dislocating his shoulder. He described the sudden and bizarre occurrence: "I was standing in the middle of the fairway. Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground."

For our purposes, we have a dramatic reenactment of what this may have looked like. 

Mihal's buddy then called the pro shop for help. I imagine it went like this: "You know that scene in Return of the Jedi when everyone is getting swallowed by the Sarlacc? Yeah, that just happened to my friend. Please send help."

General manager Russ Nobbe came in a hurry with what I would assume is the embarrassment of having your course eat people alive.  

With the help of a ladder, some rope and good ol' fashioned American ingenuity, the rescue only took about 20 minutes. 

A geologist, Philip Moss, came to inspect the hole and offered that sinkholes are usually visible, but Mihal was just that unfortunate soul who "was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Ya think?

While the course is in Illinois, Moss went on to say sinkholes are relatively common in the St. Louis area, because the city sits on bedrock made of limestone that dissolves in rainwater. 

Mihal does plan on going golfing again, now equipped with a tale that will trump any and all of your old-time war stories. 


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