Babe Ruth's Blunder
On February 26, 1937, the renowned baseball legend, Babe Ruth, found himself participating in Mid Ocean Golf Club's Annual Invitation Tournament, an event that would lead to a memorable encounter with an unexpected adversary: the infamous 5th hole. Despite his impressive track record on the baseball field, Babe Ruth was about to face a challenge that would test his skill and humility.
The Mid Ocean Golf Club held a special place in Babe Ruth's heart. However, it was the 5th hole that stood out as a persistent source of competition and frustration for him. As a powerful left-handed player, Babe Ruth confidently approached the tee at Cape Hole, aiming to conquer the vast Mangrove Lake with a mighty swing. Unfortunately, his attempt didn't go as planned, and he ended up miscuing the shot, sending the ball slicing far off the intended line and into the deep waters of the lake. This initial blunder would become the basis of stories that were retold over the years, each time adding to the number of golf balls that supposedly met their watery demise. Various accounts claimed he lost ten, fourteen, or even more balls on that fateful day. Undeterred, Babe Ruth persisted, hitting ball after ball into the water.
Contrary to the embellished tales, the reality of the situation was more straightforward and believable. Allan Brown, who partnered with Babe Ruth that day, recounted the true events. After his initial missteps, Babe Ruth's pride was wounded, but he chose not to give up or move to the dropping zone near the water's edge. Instead, he attempted another powerful swing, which unfortunately met the same watery fate. Recognizing his errors, he humbly accepted the situation and finally moved to the designated drop area. With renewed determination, he completed the hole with a total of eleven strokes. Even the mightiest athletes could stumble and falter, as evidenced by Babe Ruth's experience at the fifth hole.
Interestingly, Babe Ruth's encounter with the challenging 5th hole of the Mid Ocean Golf Club had a broader impact on golf development in Bermuda. The allure of the Mid Ocean course and the legendary tale of Babe Ruth's struggle spread far and wide, leading to the growth of other golfing opportunities across the picturesque island chain. Bermuda became a hub for golf enthusiasts, boasting eight courses in total, where more than 300,000 rounds of golf are played annually. The idyllic setting and the legacy of Babe Ruth's battle with the fifth hole contributed to the island's reputation as a golfing paradise.
In the end, Babe Ruth's experience with the fifth hole showcased a different side of his competitive spirit—one that wasn't confined to the baseball diamond. His willingness to face challenges head-on, even in unfamiliar territory, left a mark on both the Mid Ocean Golf Club and the golfing scene in Bermuda as a whole.