This week, we tie out three unrelated offbeat stories together
with the help of actor Bill Murray and the 1980 classic movie,
It wasn’t exactly a reprise of Bill Murray’s memorable role as
the demented groundskeeper with a manic obsession for destroying
golf course gophers, but, as Caddyshack moments go, it was darned
Thurston County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Department reported that a
county resident shot off part of his finger while setting a
homemade mole-killing trap in his yard.
The device consisted of a spring-loaded mechanism that was
staked into the ground, along with a trigger apparatus and a loaded
What could possibly go wrong, you might ask?
Seattle TV station KIRO reported the 39-year-old man-who was not
identified by name-apparently tripped the device’s trigger while
placing it in the ground.
He was treated and released by a local hospital for non-life
threatening injuries to his finger.
Authorities say in addition to the painful partial loss of a
finger, the do-it-yourself exterminator will likely face gross
misdemeanor charges for setting an illegal trap. Ouch!
Hazard? What Hazard?
Competing in a scramble at the Walnut Grove Golf Course in Lady
Lake, Florida, Harry Lamontagne hit his tee shot on the 160-yard
7th hole and watched the ball land just short of the green. As his
foursome made its way to the green, a fox emerged from the rough,
snatched Lamontagne’s ball and dropped it on the putting surface
near the hole.
Faced with a rules’ conundrum, the scramblers elected not to use
Lamontagne’s ball, instead using another’s tee-shot-sinking a
60-foot birdie putt in the process.
Rule 18-1, according to an account of the event appearing in The
Villages Daily Sun, is : “…if a ball is at rest (has stopped
rolling) and is moved by an outside agency (in this case, the fox),
there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced as near as
possible to its original spot.”
Golfers at three courses in southern Maine who have witnessed
their golf balls being swiped from the greens by 4-legged thieves
are well aware of the rule that no penalty is assessed when a ball
at rest is moved by “an outside agency.” It’s widely understood by
golfers there’s no need to add a stroke to the scorecard when the
offending culprit is a fox or coyote.
Dozens of incidents involving ball-stealing critters have been
reported at courses in the region during the past year.
The most credible theory to explain the unusual behavior is that
the bouncing ball and its resemblance to an egg triggers a wild
canine’s animal instinct to pounce and grab.
The Kennebec Journal reports that Tom MacDowell and Bill Fogel
were playing a round at Portland’s Riverside Golf Course as they
watched MacDowell’s ball fall just short of the 14th green. A
coyote immediately shot out of a nearby wooded area, scooped up the
ball in its mouth and trotted back to the trees.
“Maybe he collects Nike golf balls,” MacDowell opined.
The newspaper reports foxes have become as much of a hazard as
the ponds and sandtraps at the Highland Green Adult Resort
Community and Golf Course in Topsham for the past several
Highland Green resident Lyn Adams said she found a cache of
balls near a fox den while walking with her husband in the woods
near the course.
“There were 30 balls buried, covered with leaves and dirt,” she
While their antics and ball thievery can be somewhat of a
nuisance to golfers, course officials have nothing but kind words
to say about the ball-hunting inhabitants of the woods and rough.
That’s because in addition to pilfering Titleists during the day,
the foxes and coyotes are also keeping the gopher, mole and vole
population in check.
And for groundskeepers-like Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) in
Caddyshack-the fewer gophers, the better.