Veterans column: Theodore Bodle Jr shatters the pyramid golf myth
When Theodore Bodle Jr. was discharged from the Army in August of 1945 he had eight battle stars on his service ribbons.
Bodle enlisted in August 1942 serving in India, Egypt, France, Germany and Belgium. However, it wasn't his exploits in a battle that earned him an article in the Egypt edition of "Stars and Stripes," but his golfing ability.
In 1943 when he was stationed in Egypt, Bodle heard the tale that no one could drive a golf ball off the top of the great pyramid Cheops, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and clear the base of the pyramid, a distance of 127.3 yards.
According to the September 3, 1943 edition of the Stars and Stripes, "among the theories that were supposed to make the feat impossible were: the attraction of a large object to a small traveling object, updrafts, down currents, the eclipse of 1666 and the curse of Apis the Bull.
Many failures to accomplish the feat lent support to the popular legend. The most notable failures were the Duke of Windsor then the Prince of Wales and Bob Ripley of "Ripley's Believe it or Not" fame whose futile drives dribbled down the side of the rock pile into a limestone ditch."
Accomplishing the impossible
Sergeant Bodle was 22 years old and had played golf for six years. The Granville High School graduate was the caddy master at the Granville golf course for two years and had done well at the Amateur Championship Golf meet at Dayton in 1939. Bodle felt he was up to the pyramid challenge.
On August 2, according to the reporter, Sgt. Gene Lynch "armed with a battered and borrowed driver which someone must have been using to hammer rivets and four ancient golf balls as lively as a mummy, young Bodle ascended the 450-foot-high pyramid accompanied by several witnesses.
After catching his breath and teeing a ball up on sand, the Slamming Sarge wound up and wham! He scattered the old golf myth of the pyramid all over the place like so many pieces of alabaster.
His first drive not only cleared the base but also a smaller pyramid, several tombs, and over the fence surrounding the second pyramid. Just to make it stick, he hit three more balls in the same neighborhood. Bodle's longest drive landed 240 yards from the base of the great pyramid and rolled an additional 15 yards, an actual horizontal distance of 382.3 yards."
Preserving the legend of Theodore Bodle Jr.
When the golf balls were collected they were placed in an empty can of Spam and cemented into the top of the pyramid with the following inscription. "From this spot Staff Sgt. Ted Bodle Jr. of the U.S. Army drove four golf balls into the realm of the second pyramid." It is doubtful that the can of Spam still rests on top of the pyramid to this day.
Ted Bodle continued to golf and in a Newark Advocate article dated August 21, 1971, it was reported that he scored a hole-in-one at High Lands Golf club on the 217-yard number 17 hole.
The Sergeant from Granville who shattered the myth of Cheops, Theodore Bodle Jr., passed away November 20, 1996, and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Doug Stout is the Veterans Project Coordinator for the Licking County Library. You may contact him at 740-349-5571.
-- Sent from my Linux system.