AUTHOR : ELDRIDGE MILES
Affectionately, known as "Big E," Eldridge Miles has spent more than 50 years as a PGA professional in Dallas. He's been the head professional at Dallas County Club, Bent Tree Country Club and Gleneagles Country Club. In 1978, he was the first recipient of the PGA of America/Sports Illustrated Merchandiser of the Year.
A personal friend and playing partner of Ben Hogan for 20 years, Big E has given golf lessons to the likes of Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Don Meredith, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Dan Reeves and Yogi Berra.
As a former head professional at Dallas Country Club, I have been looking forward to the renovation of the course and the beautiful, new clubhouse.
A great friend and longtime DCC member was very gracious to give me a tour of the golf course and a view of the fabulous clubhouse. John Fought, a former PGA Tour player and the architect of the DCC renovation, created a truly magnificent golf course. Some of the holes are completely new, and the original holes that remain were re-routed and made to look completely new. In fact, the original holes were so improved that I did not even recognize them.
As we recently toured the course along Turtle Creek, I asked to stop the golf cart along the home stretch because I had an interesting story to tell my friend about the 16th hole.
Back in my time as head pro, there were four members, all in their 90s, who played 18 holes twice a week. Needless to say, they lost a lot of golf balls. They were all frugal with their golf purchases and always bought used balls that were three balls for $1.
One day, one of the 90-year-old players hit his tee shot on No. 16 into the steep bank of Turtle Creek. Rather than re-tee, leaving his golf ball in the bank for someone else to recover, this man attempted to retrieve his ball. Not surprisingly, he lost his balance and fell head first into the creek.
The other players were not capable of rescuing him, so they began screaming for help. Thankfully, the swimming pool was just across the creek. The lifeguard on duty heard the cries for help, dove into the creek and rescued the golfer. They brought him to the golf shop, and we called for an ambulance, as he was pretty well beat up and stressed out.
After some oxygen and an examination by the paramedics, he was taken home. This incident was not humorous. However, the next time he played, it was extremely funny. He told me he wanted to purchase one, "new" golf ball for the 16th hole.
He said the used balls did not fly far enough to clear the creek.
That old fellow is long gone now, but he would be happy to know that with the redesign of the 16th hole, golfers no longer have to carry Turtle Creek off the tee. The gorgeous par-3 now runs parallel to the creek, so golfers are free to use new golf balls every time.