Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Golfers Endure the Flukes of Hazards

J.R. AbsherGolf Course hazards aren’t always limited to water, sand traps, and hidden bunkers.

Shark (Not Greg Norman) Makes Appearance at California Golf Course

Golfers at a San Juan Capistrano, Calif., golf course narrowly missed scoring a birdie – or perhaps an eagle or an osprey – on Monday, Oct. 22, when a raptor apparently lost its grip on a two-foot leopard shark it was carrying and dropped it near the 12th hole tee box, where it was discovered flopping around by a course employee.

Melissa McCormack, San Juan Hills Golf Club director of club operations, said a lively Leopard shark was found by a course employee as it flopped on the grass near a foursome of golfers preparing to make their putts. A golf marshal grabbed the shark and took it to the clubhouse.

“There was a puncture wound under his dorsal fin and there was fresh blood. We assumed he was picked up by a bird and dropped there,” said McCormack.

According to the Orange County Register newspaper, the golf-course staff rinsed the shark with faucet water and placed it in a bucket. A cart attendant quickly drove it to Dana Point Harbor, where it was put in the ocean near Baby Beach, and it immediately swam away.

“This is definitely the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen here,” McCormack said. “There’s been nothing as bizarre as this. We’ll get the occasional mountain lion and coyote, but nothing like this.”

Assistant Chief Dan Sforza of the California Department of Fish and Game said the shark story sounded pretty fishy to him. He said the only bird likely to have carried the shark from the ocean is an osprey.

“That would be the only bird that’s big enough,” he said. “Pelicans don’t use their beak. They just swoop in and swallow. Sea gulls wouldn’t be big enough to carry a 2-pound shark.”

Water Hazard

Let’s see, would this shot call for a 9-iron of a sand wedge?

A trio of golfing buddies who regularly play the links near their homes on Hilton Head Island, SC, won’t soon forget the shot made by Harold Parris on the par-3 12th hole at Robber’s Row golf course.

The duffers noticed a couple of mid-sized alligators sunning themselves near the green as they approached the number 3 tee–a sight not uncommon to island residents. As Parris stroked his tee shot, the ball bounced once before landing squarely in the middle of the bony protrusions of one of the gator’s tails. When Parris saw where the ball landed, he didn’t skip a beat–he dropped another ball a safe distance away from the undisturbed amphibious reptile and quietly resumed playing.

Parris, a course regular, knew full well that he was in full compliance with course rules regarding gators, and was not penalized for the drop.

A Caddyshack Moment

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-yard 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.”

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