Strange But True: Trick Shots

In all sports, fans enjoy seeing players do tricks. For example, the Harlem Globetrotters entertain basketball fans by drop-kicking “field goals” through the hoop and by bouncing the ball off their heads, their feet and other parts of their anatomy. Also in basketball, a man named Wilfred Hetzel made a career out of shooting through the hoop while on his knees, or with his back turned to the basket, or while keeping his eyes shut.

But some of the greatest trick-shot specialists were golfers. What they could do was almost unbelievable.

Joe Kirkwood, an Australian golfer, could swing backwards and drive the ball out of a sand trap right near the cup. He played right-handed with left-handed clubs and vice versa. He could pop the ball high into the air and catch it without moving from his tracks. And he could tee up two balls and hit them at the same time, causing one to hook and the other to slice.

Another trick-shot specialist, Paul Hahn, could also do the hook-slice trick, and a few others, too, that he invented. He boomed out shots while on his knees, or while standing with one foot on a chair. He could hit the ball two hundred yards with a clubhead attached to a lenght of garden hose.

Hahn had one trick which caused some trouble. He used a beautiful girl; she lay flat on the ground with a golf ball resting on her lips. Hahn swung and hit the ball without touching the girl. But he soon had to give up showing that trick, when he found out that some youngsters were trying to copy the trick using their own girl friends.

Among modern golfers, the trick-shot prize probably belongs to Lee Trevino. Before he became well known by winning major tournaments, he made a living by placing bets with amateur golfers that he could beat them even under the strangest handicaps. He once beat a golfer who used regulation clubs while he played with only a soda bottle!

From Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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