Strange things can happen on a golf course and it doesn't have to be from a "Caddyshack" movie script.
A lot of times, it's sheer freakiness, a strike of good or bad luck. Many times it involves animals or insects. I've witnessed four holes in one, including one of my own, and those are always profoundly unique to behold.
But 30 years ago while teeing off on the down-the-canyon par-4 No. 8 at Hobble Creek, another guy teed off on the comeback up-the-canyon par-5 ninth. Our balls collided in midair and ricocheted sideways.
Mike Stansfield of Springville was playing in Sun Valley, Idaho, when his group looked at the group ahead of them. Both foursomes saw a fox come off the fairway, race to one of their balls, grab it in his mouth and scurry away.
But what happened a couple of weeks ago at Hobble Creek took a real ruling. Hitting a pitching wedge approach shot to the par-4 No. 11, Stansfield and I watched as a maintenance worker in a golf cart with a pair of five-gallon buckets in the back, just seven feet off the side of the green, started to pull away when his ball plopped directly into one of the buckets. It never came to rest.
Stansfield had to chase down the guy with another cart and get his ball when he stopped. Officially, that's when his ball came to rest. His group chose to give him a placement near the green where the ball would have landed.
Nick Parmley, while serving as student body vice president at Utah Valley University two years ago, hit an 8-iron approach to No. 8 when the descending ball scored a direct hit on the head of a goose, killing it instantly.
As a flock of geese gathered around the fallen fowl, Parmley quickly got to his ball and hit the next shot. And yes, he did feel guilty. But those in his group never let it go. To this day, his advisers at school and university President William Sederburg call him "Goose."
What are the odds of a member of the same foursome getting a hole-in-one in the same tournament a year apart, on the same hole, same flag placement and win the same prize, a four-wheel ATV?
That happened to former BYU defensive back coach Brian Mitchell and Carl Chappell, who were playing with Paul Carter and Jake Francom in the First American Golf Tournament at Gladstan in Payson six years ago.
The first year, Mitchell said, "So, what do you guys do with one of these four-wheelers?" Then he promptly hit a shot that jumped left and rolled right in the hole on No. 8, winning him an ATV. A year later, the foursome was placed to start on that hole. Chappell stepped up and said, "Somebody has to go first, it might as well be me." On the first shot of the day, first shot of the tournament, Chappell's tee shot hit on the green, jumped left and trickled into the hole. He also won an ATV.
The Odds? Go figure.
Golfing the other day with Don Morris and Wayne LaCourse I nearly fell down laughing on the last hole at Gladstan in Payson. It was a hot, clear sunny day with temperatures in the mid-90s. We got to No. 18 and hit tee shots. While waiting near the fairway on that final hole of the day, LaCourse got out sunblock No. 30 and put it all over his red-burned-like-a-lobster face and arms. We finished nine minutes later.
It's been almost a dozen years ago that sports writer Rod Collett and I joined former KSL sportscaster Paul James for a round at Hobble Creek.
When we got to the par-3 No. 6, nature called James and he diplomatically and quickly entered the woods for a few seconds. When James came out, he immediately started screaming in his best broadcaster voice. "Bees, bees, there are bees in there," he screamed as he raced to pull his shorts down around his knees and shoo away the pests from his jockey shorts. While in that state of battle, Springville Mayor Doc Creer and his wife pulled up from the No. 4 green in their cart and ... behold.Collett and I couldn't swing a club for two more holes.