News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

August 15, 2009

Rub of the Green: One of Terre Haute’s longest hitters made his mark at Firestone

Watching the WGC Bridgestone Invitational played at Firestone Country Club last Sunday brought to mind an often-repeated story with a Terre Haute flavor.

It was back in the late 1960s when Bill Mitchell, Vice-President of Eastern Motor Express invited Dave Goeller, Mark Fisk and Dr. Jim Bopp to play the hallowed Firestone golf course, long reputed as one of the best and toughest golf venues in the U.S.

Since Mitchell’s company was one of Firestone’s big customers, he had the opportunity to take guests to play the course, which obviously would make any golfer ecstatic.

Goeller came to Terre Haute to practice law back in 1963. Making Country Club of Terre Haute his home course, Goeller won three CCTH Club Championships. In addition, he recorded a 65 as his low score on the Allendale layout.

Fisk had played the No. 1 man position on the Indiana State Teachers’ College golf team. He was regarded as the longest hitter in the history of Terre Haute golf. Fisk also had a Terre Haute Match Play Championship in his resume.

Bopp was an anesthesiologist at Union Hospital in Terre Haute. While a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corp, Bopp once defeated Orville Moody in an overseas tournament. Later Moody would win the U. S. Open.

It was at the monstrous 16th hole that things got interesting for the Terre Haute foursome. Fisk hit a thunderous tee shot well past the 300-yard mark. Playing slightly more than 600 yards from the back tees, No. 16 also had a pond guarding its front. Any approach shot had to carry the green or else find a watery grave.

Goeller recalls, “When I saw Mark pulling an iron out of his bag for his second shot, I told him, surely you’re not going to lay up when you have a great opportunity to hit this green in two shots.”

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