Golfing Dangers: When Animals Want to Play Through – Let Them

When you step out on a golf course, while away on holiday, it is perhaps one of life’s most enjoyable and relaxing moments. So too should it have been for Dougie Thompson last week as he celebrated a friend’s wedding, in the Mexican resort of Cancun, with a round of golf at the local Iberostar Cancun Golf Club.

The 58-year-old Scotsman, who now lives in Toronto, Canada, had shot his ball into a bunker on the course, near to a bush shrouded lagoon.

Mr Thompson lined up his bunker shot and was happy to see his ball fly onto the green, however as he turned to leave the bunker an 12-foot long crocodile leapt from the bushes, clamping its jaws around Mr Thompson’s leg.

The video below was taken by a visitor to the same golf course and shows the kind of croc’s that lie in wait for the unsuspecting golfer.

“I couldn’t feel pain, I was in total shock. It was like a big toy, big black eyes looking at me.” Mr Thompson told the UK press after the incident.

Fortunately for the Scotsman, his two playing partners leapt into action, at first hitting the crocodile with clubs to get it to release their friend, before one drove their golf buggy over the crocodile.

The beast then let go of Mr Thompson and started to attack the golf cart, then after a few panic-stricken seconds, it returned to its lake, leaving the golfers leg looking like, in his own words, “a butcher’s shop window”.

He required 200 stitches in the wound and incredibly is the second person to have been attached by a crocodile at the course in recent years as a few years back, Edward Lunger, a 50-year-old New Yorker, lost two fingers when he was attacked at the same course.

It is easy to forget at times that while Golf Courses are certainly a human domain, they are often built in natures back garden and the abundance of flora, fauna and water on these courses, certainly in exotic parts of the world, does lead to its own innate dangers.

Home and Away stars Peter Vroom and Craig Thomson were keen golfers as well as on-screen friends Lance and Martin in the Australian soap. One time, while playing golf in Australia, they inadvertently stumbled through a huge nest of Funnel Web spiders, causing them to use their clubs for more than hitting the golf ball.

At the Village Greens Golf Course in Wooldridge Illinois, springtime golfers would have to worry about more than just on-course hazards. A very over-protective red-tailed hawk would think nothing of swooping down to scratch and gouge the faces of golfers that it felt had strayed too close to its nest.

One of the most famous altercations with nature came in the 2007 Andalucia Open when Swede Joakim Haeggman, while leading the tournament, was playing the 18th hole (his ninth of the round due to a staggered start). A goose waddled over to protects its territory, which initially amused Haegmann, but as soon as the Swede tried to putt, the goose would launch into a frenzied attack.

The Swede responded in his own way “I had to give it a slap across the face, I had no choice,” he said later, but the incident rattled the Swede who didn’t win the tournament.

Perhaps the scariest on course invader was faced by Crystal Springs Resort Groundskeeper George Petta. The New Jersey resident was working on the 17th hole when he felt a presence beside him. Turning around to talk to his co-worker, Petta came face to face with a huge black bear, which struck him across the face, before wandering off.

And to prove Black Bears, as well as Golden Bears, are able to find the green, take a look at the video below.

Incredibly, Mr Petta not only survived the attack but was well enough to return to work the following day, though I would hazard a guess that he didn’t venture back to the 17th hole alone.

Perhaps the most unusual story concerning wildlife comes from Vero Beach, Florida where at the Sandridge Golf Club, players complained that a masked thief was prowling around the course, stealing items from their golf carts and bags while they played.

A manhunt was launched to catch the culprit and the groundskeepers found that the thief was actually a raccoon. Tracking the creature back to its den, the staff found purses, food containers and golf balls hidden around its den.

So remember, next time on the course, while a birdie is all well and good and an eagle even more welcome, there are a few of nature’s beasties that are best left off a golf course, for your own safety.

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