By bkuehn1952 on 12/2/10
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Brian Kuehn didn't disappoint. This is his 7th article to oobgolf. He's probably going to expect to be on our payroll soon... You can read the other 6 here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
We Oobers have all seen the occasional wild creature during our many rounds of golf. It is cool to stand on the tee in mid-October and watch a small herd of deer wander across the fairway or hear a hawk’s distinctive call. Undoubtedly a number of Oobers have enjoyed some interesting encounters with local wildlife. Here are a few from my past:
The Skunk Family – This story starts after a particularly heavy rain storm. While playing the third hole at a local course I noted a family of skunks (momma and 4-5 little ones) trotting across the fairway. Apparently their home was flooded and momma was taking the family to a drier spot. I made sure to give them a wide berth but the problem was they were headed for the tunnel that separates #3 from #4 (a railroad line splits the first nine). I sort of loitered around the 3rd green until I saw a course worker drive his cart into the tunnel. When no screams or noxious fumes came from the dark passageway I proceeded to #4, feeling slightly guilty about using the nameless employee as my point man.
Squirrel vs. Hawk – A few years ago I inadvertently participated in a life and death showdown between a squirrel and a red-tail hawk. As I approached a par 3, a large red-tail hawk swooped down to the ground, I saw a flash of gray fur and then the hawk perched on a tree limb about 30 feet to my left. I glanced to my right and there was a squirrel standing frozen, attention riveted on the hawk. The hawk had obviously missed on the first pass and was now waiting for the squirrel to make his move. The squirrel, meanwhile, was not about to make the first move, especially with me standing in the way of the hawk. The standoff continued for another 30 seconds as I pondered the right way to proceed. I finally decided the hawk did not deserve a Mulligan, waved my arms and shooed him away while the squirrel made good his escape.
Beware of the Bird – One year complaints of a “crazy bird” started to be received at the clubhouse of our local muni. Players who hooked their tee shots on #11 reported being dive-bombed and harassed by a small bird. Eventually the course superintendant identified the problem. An Eastern Kingbird had nested in a small tree to the left of the 11th fairway. This particularly species has a well-deserved reputation for aggressively defending its nesting area. When a golfer would come too close to the tree, the Kingbird would go to war. The superintendant chalked out a circle with a 30 yard radius and put up a sign that the area was GUR and added a warning: “Beware of the Bird”. During the City Championship one of the members of my foursome hit his shot into the GUR. The guy read the notice, looked at the little bird perched in the tree and said, “It’s just a bird, I’ll play it where it lays.” Having seen the little demon in action, I suggested he may want to reconsider but he would have none of it and addressed his ball. Suddenly a blur of feathers smacked him in the head, knocked his hat off and started trying to drill a hole in the top of his skull. After the golfer escaped he took a drop.
Postscript: Once the breeding season ended they took the tree out and replanted it elsewhere.
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Other Oobers must have some stories to share. Anyone wrestle an alligator for his Titleist or been chased from the green by a bull elk? Let’s hear your “tails” (okay, a really bad pun but it fit in so nicely).
This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
[ comments ]
never had any issues with animals on the course, i did see a dog just dart out of now where once and never seen him again. another course i have played has two cats that roam the 5th hole, they must live nearby. funny stories way to save the squireel.
We have recurring foxholes (filled in by groundskeepers, always quickly re-dug by foxes) in a specific fairway bunker on an upslope in the fairway. Usually they politely keep their distance. In springtime, there are kits around. Last year 3 of them sat by the hole entrance in the trap, about 10 yards in front of our balls (in fairway), staring at my group hit iron shots directly over their heads. Never any movement and they stayed in place while we walked right by them.
Once at Wintergreen Resort driving range, groundhogs nonchalantly wandered around 75 yards in front of the tee box. You could aim for them, yet no matter how close you came, they always avoided the shots while being completely oblivious of being targets. It was like a video game.
Saw a huge buck walking across the green earlier this week in St. Louis. Reminded me of playing in Evergreen, Colorado, where you frequently have to wait for a herd of elk to clear the fairway. You never wanted to get too close. They looked massive even at 300+ yards. Also, I always fantisize about owning my own course so I could bring my dog out with me like when we play disc golf.
All the courses around here have alligators as permanent residents. They don't bother us, we don't bother them. I've had balls roll up next to them when they're out sunning on the bank of the ponds. I'll just drop a ball a few feet away and hit from there, no penalty.
hmmm...not a nice story, but can't resist. My friends and I were playing at a course near Lake Tahoe and they had some varmits that looked similar to prairie dogs but not sure what they are called. Anyways, I'm riding with "joe" and we're traveling down the fairway at a fairly good pace when one of these things pops out of nowhere in front of us. Joe swerved to avoid him, but still clips the damn thing. Unfortunately, he hit it hard enough where it was walking on it's hind legs, in circles, basically screaming like a banshee. The poor thing was really messed up. Joe, feeling extremely bad about it wants "us" to put it out of it's misery using one of our 9 irons.... We're like WTF Joe? You do it. He couldn't, and we wouldn't, and it eventually disappeared into the rough, still walking upright and wobbly. He's been known as Killer every since.
A deer stared me down this summer, when I was hitting my second shot on the 14th. I thought the thing was going to charge me. lol
At my home course a couple years ago we had the nesting little birdie thing going, only the little birdie was a Red Tailed Hawk and it about took a guys scalp off. He had to go to the emergency room for repairs. So the grounds keeper staked off a big area and everyone stayed the heck away from it. On a funnier note one of my buddies goes to Hawaii every few years, and while he and a friend were playing at some course that as he put it was carved out of a rain forest, some kind of monkey or lemur like animals raided their cart and stole their lunches while they were putting. Even funnier their non-golfing wives were following in another cart and caught the whole thing in pictures.
My brother and I were playing last summer and he was searching for his ball about 5 yards into the woods on the right (sadly this was a par 3, haha). All of a sudden about 5-10 feet from him he crosses paths with a baby deer which freaked out upon seeing us. Somehow it didn't see us coming. The deer sprints away cleanly, and it made it about 30 yards, but almost went right into a water hazard on the other side of the hole. Not sure how well they swim, so I'm glad he didn't fall in there. Don't know where mama was, but she would have been pissed.
This fall on my local course I went out one evening on the back 9 to try and play a quick round before dark, as I got to the 13th I noticed a few of deer coming out of the woods. I shot onto the green as a doe stood about 75 yds away on the edge of the woods. putted out and went to the 14th-par 3, teed off. Looked back to see the her now standing closer. Walked down to the green and the she followed. This happened for 2 more holes. I stopped once put my bag down grabbed my phone as she walked slowly towards me to within about 15 feet! took a bad picture, but got one! It was pretty cool.
Kurt the Knife says:
US open at Pebble on number 15 a family of deer got inside the ropes on the fairway. Poor critters, couldn't figure out a way outta there all roped in. They wandered around in there, folks trying to shoo them thru any break. They kinda headed back to the tee when we gave up on 'em figuring the next group playing will deal with 'em.
Our biggest animal concern here is geese. I know from off-course experience that they can be down-right mean, so I always make sure I give them a wide berth, especially when the babies are around.
I did see a guy kill a pigeon with his tee shot once. Poor bird was on the forward tee box. The guy (don't know his name. Joined up with him and his buddy on the course) hits one of those worm-burner drives, and it catches the bird in the head. All of the others scattered, but I spent the rest of the round wondering if his buddies were going to come back and exact some revenge.
Kurt the Knife says:
very Hitchcockian of you.
It was spring and my friend drove his ball ever so close to a pond where a bunch of candian geese were resting. When my friend was approaching his ball, one of the geese must have mistaken the ball for its egg and went very aggressive at my friend. I tried to help that guy out but the geese was so pissed and wanted to fly straight into my face -- I had my club against its belly when the goose was diving towards me…we relented at that scene and my friend just dropped another ball
A few years back near San Clemente,CA--a coyote came out of the brush on the fairway, walked to a spot about 30 yds away, and just sat and stared. Didn't move. My buddy and I had to take turns watching each others' backs with a 9 iron while hitting our approach shots. He didn't follow us to the green.
One year ago, playing with same guy at Coto de Caza, CA--about 4-5 coyotes ran past us on the fairway.
Am heading back to SoCal for the holidays later this month, might just suggest we hang out at the pool hall this year!
In August I was playing #16, a par 3, drove around the corner and stumbled upon this hawk. www.oobgolf.com/data/images/h/e/v/4cf9560582c38. We literally drove five feet by it without it moving. Once I gathered my senses, I hit the brakes and took this picture. We sat with the hawk for like 2 minutes and then he decided he'd had enough and flew off. I'm thinking he was watching some rodent hole and didn't mind us onlookers.
The weirdest thing i've seen was at tilden golf course in berkeley, ca. on the putting green a guy had his digital camera laying by his golf bag and all of a sudden a fox came out and took the camera in its mouth and ran off. the guy followed it into the forest but never found his camera
Speaking of animal thieves, years ago my wife and I were warned about the seagulls at Pebble Beach. Five minutes later my lovely bride wrapped her hotdog in a towel and stashed it in the opening under the cart steering wheel before walking to her ball. A gull landed on the steering wheel, quickly assessed the situation, reached underneath and pulled the towel out. At this point my wife started yelling at the gull as she raced back to the cart. The gull looked at her, gave the towel a shake, and fly off with her hotdog.
hawk vs. baby bunny. hawk won.
Bryan K says:
Oh, my. Where do I start.
How about on the actual beach at Clearwater, Florida. Saw a group of seagulls literally destroy this couple's picnic basket. There were hundreds of them ripping their stuff apart. Nothing was salvagable. Not even their lawn chairs.
Earlier this year, playing at Hawley Country Club in Hawley, Minnesota, the worms on the green were so thick, it would take 5-
Bryan K says:
wow...my browser went all haywire and postd that while I was still typing.
At any rate, there were literally thousands of worms on those greens. We ould take 5-10 minutes just clearing a path to the hole so we could putt. It was absolutely disgusting, and Hawley is an otherwise very beautiful course.
And then there are the geese.
My dad, uncle, and grandfather were playing in the Naples, Fl area a couple years ago and my dad and I were driving up to our tee shots on a hole as a 15 foot alligator was running across the fairway. Luckily for my dad, he hits it straight, unfortunately I play a "power draw" and ended up near the banks of the pond the alligator was headed for. My dad said he'd watch my back as I hit but there is no level of protection that can make me feel good about a shot with my back to a pond with a big freaking alligator looking at my back. Anyone want to second my par on that hole?
Coyotes, prairie dogs, geese, and snakes are common sightings in New Mexico. The coyotes usually take a wide path around golfers, the prairie dogs disappear into their holes if you get too close, and I give the rattlers and bull snakes plenty of room when I pass them sunning themselves in the fairway. In New Hampshire, I have seen fox and in Maryland, plenty of deer.
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