It's Halloween today, and that's scary. But golf is pretty scary sometimes, too. So, on this day filled with ghosts and ghouls and goblins, we asked some of our editors about about the scariest shots they've ever hit, and how they turned out.
The first hole at Springfield GC in Rotorua, New Zealand isn't particularly scary. But my clubs had been lost by the airlines, and the only set I could borrow had ladies' flex graphite shafts. The other half of the twosome was Danny Lee, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion. I had flown to the other side of the world to write a profile on Lee, and at this point in my life he was far and away the best golfer with whom I had ever been paired. It had been relayed to Lee that the writer coming to visit him was "about a scratch player."
Result: Towering, 40-yard hook into left rough, at which Lee, a non-native English speaker, exclaimed, "Holy Draw!"
Pete Finch, Senior EditorI was playing in the pro-am at the 1990 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic. It was my first time in a pro-am, and the first time I'd ever had anyone watch me play. I was deeply nervous. AT&T Chairman Robert Allen -- a good, single-digit golfer at the time -- had advised me on the range just to take deep breaths and remain calm. His group went off ahead of mine. I watched in horror as Allen shanked back-to-back tee shots into the tennis court near the first tee. When my turn came, I could barely pull the club back.
Result: Somehow I made contact and my pro -- the legendary Ed Fiori -- said, "Well, lookee here!" I nearly passed out from relief.
Luke Kerr-Dineen, Assistant EditorIt was the 18th hole at Royal Porthcawl, and I was one up in my match at the 2007 British Boys. The wind was blowing hard right to left towards the out of bounds, where Tiger Woods had hit it to lose one of his singles matches in the 1995 Walker Cup. Thinking about it today still sends shivers down my spine.
Result: Low skanky-heely cut down the right rough. Might have been the best shot of my life, under the circumstances.
Ashley Mayo, Associate EditorMine was at a high school golf tournament. I entered a playoff with Rebecca Kuhn, the county's best girl golfer. She attracted a sizable gallery. After we both parred the first playoff hole, she hit it to within 10 feet on a mid-length par 3. I grabbed my 6 iron and stepped up to the tee box, knowing I needed to birdie the hole.
Result: I knocked my ball to within three feet. She missed her putt, and I made mine to win my first high school golf tournament.
Alex Myers, Associate EditorI was standing on the 18th tee at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Myrtle Beach with a two-shot lead in the final round of the 2011 HGGA Championship (don't ask), aka my annual buddies trip.
Result: Shaking from nerves and having not hooked a ball in years (the slice is my GO-TO miss), I snapped a ball embarrassingly left and out of play with water right. Lucky for me, we play double-bogey max and no one else caught me. I donned our green jacket on the clubhouse steps minutes later, but I was still embarrassed from my choke job. Having not had much experience trying to close out a tournament of any level before, hopefully, I'll be better prepared next time. Hopefully.
Sam Weinman, Web EditorIt was at last fall's Seitz Cup pitting Golf Digest against Golf World. The Cup came down to my match, which meant an entire company of cynical golf writers and editors (and my 7-year-old son!) had gathered around the final tee to watch me hit my tee shot.
Result: I hit a 170-yard 5-hybrid over water and onto the green, setting up the clinching par. I'm not nearly as good as that shot would suggest.