We all know that golf is a physically and mentally challenging game. But what do you do when you add wild animals to the mix? Here in Virginia, my husband and I have come across several different wild animals on the golf course.
Snapping Turtles. The snapping turtle on the green. My husband loves turtles and so slowly coaxed him off the green. He used his club to help the coaxing process with the turtle snapping at him all the way across the green.
Foxes. Two foxes wrapped around the pin sunning themselves. They had no intention of moving, so we picked up our balls and gave ourselves a Par for the hole.
Deer. Deer are a constant in the fairway on many of the courses in Virginia. They are so common on the golf courses here that they ignore us and we admire them. They also seem to have this uncanny ability to not get hit by a shank, slice or draw shot. Good for them!
Geese. I think golf courses around the world have Geese problems. Some courses have put dogs on the course to chase them away. But for those courses that haven’t, geese can be a big nuisance. My husband and I were playing The Pines Golf Course, at the Fort Eustis Army Base in Newport News, VA. We came up to my tee box and there must have been a dozen geese resting on the tee box. They didn’t seem to want to move, so my husband said find a place on the tee box and go ahead and hit. Well, that didn’t go well. I was nervous teeing off with a bunch of geese extremely close, so I hit a terrible tee shot. Not only did I hit a bad tee shot, but one of the geese was not impressed and started chasing me off the tee box. Luckily once I got off the tee box, the goose turned around and plopped itself down. To say the least, I don’t tee off from the tee box if there are geese there.
Black Snakes. I don’t like snakes of any kind. My husband on the other hand is fascinated by them. So, when we were playing golf at the Eaglewood Golf Course at the Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, I was surprised by his reaction to a black snake that was behind the green of the 9th hole, Par 3. We were walking off the green and the snake decided we were getting too close and started slithering up a tree. Now if you ask my husband to relate this story, he would tell you that that darn snake was climbing up the tree. And although he likes snakes, he is not keen on snakes that “climb” trees and that might just drop on you as you are passing by.
Now our wild animals in Virginia are pretty tame compared to the wild animals that my sister in Arizona has to contend with.
Javolinas. Javolinas are commonly mistaken for a pig or a rodent. However, the javelina, pronounced ‘have-uh-LEEN-ah,’ is actually a member of a family of mammals known as the peccaries. Javelinas are medium-sized animals that look similar to a wild boar. And very common in Tucson where my sister lives. Javolinas love the golf courses and you will see them in large groups and with their babies in tow. Javolinas are protected so you just have to steer clear of them. Slow play is common because of these animals. By the way, these animals can be very mean if you get too close to their babies. So stay clear!
Bobcats. It is not uncommon to see a bobcat on an Arizona golf course. They don’t get close but make for a great picture.
Coyotes. Coyotes are a constant fixture on the golf course. You can watch them hunting a variety of small game such as golfers, chipmunks and rabbits. They like the bobcat stay on the fringe of fairways and don’t really bother golfers. They too provide for a great picture if you are fast enough.
Rattle Snakes. Something you must learn and learn quickly is that you don’t go looking for your ball in the wash or brush. You might find more than you bargained for. Balls are cheap! Leave them!
Golf is challenging enough by itself. Playing with wild animals adds a whole new dimension to the game. The best advice: just enjoy the added beauty these animals provide.