Leapin’ Lizards! Gators invade the greens on Southern golf courses

Leapin’ Lizards! Gators invade the greens on Southern golf courses

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There are myriad skills to master in golf, from perfecting your swing, to avoiding sand traps and water hazards. But few golfers are prepared to play around a hulking alligator — unless, of course, they hail from the Southern United States, where a gator on the green has been “par for the course” long before hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc.

BAY HILL GATORS

Take PGA golfer Cody Gribble for example. The Texan casually tapped an alligator on his tail on the 6th hole at the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational to encourage it into the water.

A day later, fellow pro Smylie Kaufman mistook one of the beasts resting next to the water on the same hole for a rock decoration, before getting the fright of his life. His caddy unwittingly ventured even closer to the gator before getting tipped off by Kaufman to the lurking danger.

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Last year’s golf course incursions by gators are hardly the first time the large lizards have occupied the links.

BUFFALO CREEK GATOR

“It is very common to see alligators on a Florida golf course and they're typically not a threat to golfers. Wild alligators are shy and will not bother you unless you provoke it or corner it so it feels threatened.”

— Charlie Helms, on gator encounter

In 2016, a giant gator was spotting walking the fairway at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Florida. 56-year-old Charlie Helms caught the impressive creature on video which quickly went viral.

MYAKKA PINES GATOR

Alligator visits the golf course at Myakka Pines Golf Club

In 2015, a gator paid a visit to the 7th hole at Myakka Pines Golf Club.

Gator on the green at Myakka Pines golf course

Photos by Dick Huber and Bill Susie

Photographed by amateur golfers Dick Huber and Bill Susie, the relaxed reptile seemed to be reading the green with his intense eyes.

ZURICH CLASSIC GATOR

In the opening round of the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, players had to contend with the wildlife in addition to the star studded field.

A post shared by Golf Magazine (@golf_com) on

At least visitors are given a strong hint as to what they may encounter on the golf course, by way of a sculpted tree trunk near the clubhouse.

HARBOUR TOWN GATOR

At the first round of the 2012 RBC Heritage tournament, caddie Kip Henley used a brush to coax an alligator off the green on the par-5 15th hole.

2018-07-16T18:02:51+00:00 July 16th, 2018|

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