One of the many reasons I enjoy golf is that it is an outdoor game. One has the opportunity to view nature up close, especially when one’s golf game is as erratic as mine. Too often I have opportunities to view both woodland and aquatic habitats while attempting to play golf.
Over the past 50 years I have had numerous encounters with our local wildlife. While I have had to escape a swarm of bees when I inadvertently disturbed their nest with my follow through and watched a golf buddy get chased 50 yards by an angry goose, fortunately most of the encounters have been less confrontational.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Thief! – Years ago my wife and I played Pebble Beach. For those of you unfamiliar with Pebble, the course routing does not take one back to the clubhouse after the first nine holes. The day we were playing, they had a hotdog stand located between #9 green and #10 tee. Every time I tell this tale the hotdogs get more expensive. If I recall correctly, this being Pebble Beach, the hotdogs cost $10 each. As we were handed our expensive snack, the young woman warned us, “be careful with the seagulls! If you set your hotdog down, they will steal it.” So, heeding the advice, when my wife walked over to the right rough to hit her 2nd shot, she carefully wrapped the hotdog in a towel and stashed the towel in the golf cart’s “glove box” storage area. After hitting her shot she turned to walk back and saw a seagull perched on the steering wheel. As she got closer the bird hopped onto the passenger seat, stuck his head into the storage area and removed the rolled towel. Now my wife was sprinting to the cart yelling, “Leave that alone you *$#@! bird!” The gull looked at her, grabbed the towel, shook his head, unrolled the towel, paused to look at her once more and, if a seagull can smile, he probably smiled. Then he flew off with the $10 hotdog firmly in his beak.
Course Vandal - In the late autumn I often play our town’s executive golf course (par 67). I teed off on #16 and as I got closer to the green, I noted someone had vandalized the green. There was dirt on the green surrounding the flagstick. When I got to the hole it was a cone shaped excavation about 10 inches in diameter at the top. I was pretty upset that someone would damage a green so thoughtlessly. Then I noted something in the hole. Trapped under the grid-shaped hole liner bottom was a large acorn. It was easy to put 2 and 2 together; a ravenous squirrel had decided he wanted that acorn, even if it involved significant excavation. I made my birdie, how could I miss, thanks to Mr. Squirrel, and reported the problem to the clubhouse.
The Odd Couple – Early one golf season I was playing a local goat track solo. As I approached the 14th tee, a long par 3, I noted another single golfer up near the green. He seemed to be aimlessly walking back and forth around the green. I started to get a bit irritated at the wait. Eventually, the guy on the green noticed me and waved me up. After hitting up I approached the other golfer who was standing on the side of the green. He said he was sorry to hold me up but the large goose standing on the other side of the green would not allow him near his golf bag. Sure enough, every attempt was rebuffed with much honking, hissing and wing-waving. There was no nest, eggs, babies or other birds in the area, just this guy’s golf bag. We decided the goose was lonely and had fallen in love with the golf bag. Eventually, one of us distracted the amorous goose and the other snatched his new found love. We undoubtedly did the goose a favor. The relationship would never have worked.
So what memorable encounters have the rest of TST had? Share your stories.