Did a Golfer Once Have to Climb Into a Tree to Hit a Shot?

This is the latest in a series of examinations of urban legends related to golf and whether they are true or false.

GOLF URBAN LEGEND: A golfer once climbed a tree to make a shot during a tournament.

Bernhard Langer has the distinction of being the very first golfer ever to be ranked #1 in the Official Golf Rankings that began in 1986. He remains the only German golfer ever to have that distinction (and seeing as how there have only been seventeen players to be ranked #1 since the rankings began in 1986, it’s a great honor PERIOD).

Early in his career, he played pretty much only in Europe, so he was not widely known in the United States. That changed one day in 1981 while he was competing in the Benson and Hedges (B & H) Open in England.

On the seventeenth hole, Langer hit a nine iron for his second shot, but he pulled it way left and it hit a big ash tree.

You can see it here…

However, while you would normally figure a ball would hit a tree and land next to it, this ball actually remained LODGED in the tree!!

Langer had to decide – take the penalty drop (an extra shot would be added to his score, but he would be able to play the ball down on the grass) or actually shoot it from the tree?

Langer, naturally, chose the latter option…

And, sure enough, he actually managed to hit the green from the tree!!

The shot was broadcast all over the world, and when he went to the United States a few days later for his first American golf tournament, he was now a household name among golf fans (it helped that he was also the co-leader in that US tournament in the third round).

Langer went on to become one of the top golfers in the world. Had the rankings started a bit earlier, he undoubtedly would have added a few more weeks to his reign at the top of the rankings. He has won the Masters twice (1985 and 1993) and in 2001, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

That shot of his should have him inducted into the “bold golf shot hall of fame”!

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

One Response to “Did a Golfer Once Have to Climb Into a Tree to Hit a Shot?”

  1. Is there any way of seeing the video footage of this shot?

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