sinkholeImagine being out on a wonderful sunny day golfing with some friends and you smash a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway.  One moment you are riding high and walking to your ball, and the next you are swallowed up by the earth into a 18-foot pit.

This is the nightmare that Mark Mihal lived recently while golfing at Annbriar Golf Course on March 8th in St. Louis, MO.

Mark’s wife, Lori, gives a powerful account of what happened that day.  The sunny day started out just fine as Mark and a few buddies took to a local course to play a round of golf, but then it got scary quickly.

My husband, Mark Mihal, co-founder of golfmanna, went out to play a familiar course in Waterloo, Ill., with his regular Friday foursome. He was having a great round and lots of laughs with his buddies. They were in the fairway on No. 14; Mark had already hit his second shot when he went to check out the distance for his playing partner, Mike Peters, who was getting ready to hit. Mike had his back to Mark and when he turned to say something to him, Mark was gone.
Mike could hear Mark moaning and ran in the direction where he had been standing just a few seconds earlier. It was immediately clear what had happened; the ground had caved in and Mark had fallen into the earth – 18 feet underground.
“I felt the ground start to collapse and it happened so fast that I couldn’t do anything,” Mark said later. “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.”
Mark landed in mud at the bottom of the sinkhole, which was approximately 10’ wide.
One of Mark’s buddies immediately called the clubhouse to notify them of the odd situation.  During that time as you could imagine Mark became a bit claustrophobic and was also in a good amount of pain due to dislocating his shoulder during the free fall.  The folks at the clubhouse had brought a ladder and some rope in an attempt to pull Mark out.
Ed gave a whole new meaning to “golfing buddy,” as he volunteered to go down in the hole and tie a rope around Mark and hoist him up to the ladder so they could get him out. When Ed reached the bottom of the hole, he took off his sweatshirt and made a sling for Mark’s very noticeable shoulder injury.  After approximately 20 minutes underground, they were able to get Mark out and into an ambulance.

[Devil Ball Golf, Golf Manna]