European Tour
August 02, 2020

Watch this Euro Tour pro use a boat (yes, a boat) to get to an island and play a recovery shot

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Ross Kinnaird

Joel Sjoholm takes a boat to the island on the 17th hole during the final round of the 2020 Hero Open.

Every shot counts in golf, as the old saying goes. And so tour pros will often get creative when trying to play a wayward shot rather than take a drop and add a penalty stroke to their score. But we haven’t seen anybody get quite as creative as Joel Sjoholm did during the final round of the European Tour’s Hero Open on Sunday.

Sjoholm, a 35-year-old Swede who was a first-team All-American at Georgia State in the early 2000s, hit his second shot on the par-5 17th hole at England’s Forest of Arden Country Club way right of the green. So far right in fact that it landed on a small island sitting in the middle of the water hazard adjacent to the hole.

Able to see the ball on dry land and noticing a boat beside the green, Sjoholm decided to climb in with a few clubs and go to the island to try to play his third shot. (There are going to be a lot of things in this story where you shake your head, like for instance what is a boat doing adjacent to the hole. The best thing is to sort of ignore the absurdity to it and press on.)

After warily getting to the island—his boating skills are a bit wanting—Sjoholm had to do a little work to give himself a reasonable chance at the recovery shot, including taking down some signage. (Also not a strength of his as you can see in the video.)

Eventually he played his third shot back over the water, the ball hitting the green and rolling hot of the back side. From there, Sjoholm hopped back in the boat to get to finish up the hole. Sjoholm got on the green with his fourth but two-putted for a bogey.

After the round, Sjoholm explained his mindset when he decided to take to the water.

“I always tend to find ways out of my problems. I’m a problem solver more than I’m the greatest ball striker on earth,” he said. I tend to find my way out of things, and I thought I’d find my way out of this as well. I sort of did. I definitely could have left it in the water or the penalty area, but we got it out and I made 6.

“I think I was much more afraid of falling into the water than of me messing up when I got to the island. I saw that some guys were playing quite good around me so I hopefully I didn’t mess something up for them because I took some time down 17. I’m sorry for that but I did what I had to do.”

We have to give a few grades to Sjoholm for this pretty amazing sequence of events:

Boat skills: C

Signing moving skills: D

Recovery shot: B-

Ingenuity: A

Sjoholm finished the round with a one-over 73 to come in tied for 22nd, nine shots back of eventual winner Sam Horsfield.