I am Midwesterner with more than a pinch of Dixie. I also like to golf, although golf has never liked me; in fact it hates me. I still enjoy playing the occasional round; especially while on vacation. Being a Hoosier my typical vacation jaunts are the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee or the beaches in Florida or South Carolina. Six to eight years ago, while vacationing in St. Augustine, FL I went with my dad and brother-in-law to play a round of golf. It was on that occasion that I first encountered a golf course sign which read: “Beware of Alligators”. I asked the guy in the clubhouse, “Are there really alligators on this course?”
Remember, I’m from Indiana; we only see alligators on TV or in books.
The man answered, “Heck yes there are alligators on this course! This is Florida. Alligators are everywhere.”
I lost a whole sleeve of balls that round, because I never hunted for a one. I saw an alligator, too; warming himself on the slope falling away from the 10th green.
With that story from my past fresh in your mind, I leave you with the following report from the AP wire.
VENICE, Florida (AP) — A man who lost his ball in a golf course pond nearly lost a limb when a nearly 11-foot alligator latched on to his arm and pulled him in the water, authorities said.
Bruce Burger, 50, was trying to retrieve his ball Monday from a pond on the sixth hole at the Lake Venice Golf Club.
The alligator latched on to Burger’s right forearm and pulled him in the pond, said Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Burger used his left arm to beat the reptile until it freed him.
“I saw him reach down to get his ball and he yelled” for help, said Janet Pallo, who was playing the fifth hole and ran over to drive the man to the clubhouse.
Burger, from Lenoir City, Tennessee, was taken to a hospital but was not seriously injured, Morse said Tuesday.
It took seven Fish and Wildlife officers an hour to trap the one-eyed alligator, which measured 10 feet, 11 inches, Morse said.
The pond at the sixth hole has a “Beware of Alligator” sign.
“Unfortunately, that’s part of Florida,” course general manager Rod Parry said. “There’s wildlife in these ponds.”