Wildlife on the golf course is nothing new. After all, you’re playing outside in what once was an animal’s natural habitat. And when you’re golfing in wetlands, you might wind up seeing an alligator strolling around the greens near a water hazard.
Most courses in the Southeastern United States have been carved out of swampland or placed near rivers and ponds – prime alligator territory. There have been 22 bites that have resulted in death so the possibility of a deadly encounter is real!
Take for instance what happened to 77 year-old James Wieneck in South Carolina at the Ocean Creek Golf Course on Fripp Island. James was on the 11th hole when an alligator lunged out of the water and severed his right arm just below the elbow. Talk about unexpected and painful.
So what should you do to avoid being partially eaten, or worse, killed?
Well, here’s some common sense advice. Stay away from the gator. In all likelihood it’s not intent on attacking you, but why try to provoke it?
What you really ought to do is be careful around the edges of lakes and ponds. Because predators are good at sneaking up on their prey, these cold-blooded creatures don’t give away their location when they attack. That means don’t go fishing for balls if they land in the water!
While gators are dangerous, golf courses benefit from increased business whenever there’s a sighting. We think these reptiles give the game a certain amount of charm. Here are some photos and videos that have generated publicity around the internet.