Horses For Courses
I have had many rounds of golf interrupted or disrupted by animals. Not to mention quite a few people, but never by a horse! But golfers at Rochford Hundred Golf Club recently discovered horses wandering on the course and they had caused damage to some of the tees.
The horses were discovered grazing on the course after escaping from their field. Unfortunately, they had already churned up some of the turf. Thankfully for the finances of the club, they had not damaged any of the greens. These are expensive to repair and it is essential that they offer a perfect surface for golfers to use. The horses were later collected by their owners.
At least these horses had owners. The herd which caused recently had been abandoned near the course. They were very nervous and bolted when anyone approached them. The result was thousands of pounds’ worth of damage to both the fairways and the greens.
Golf course administrators are used to having to deal with occasional issues involving the local wildlife. However, do not generally have to worry about equine hooves churning up their courses. Mind you, I can’t imagine what it must be like to take care of Hampton Court Palace Golf Club. The Palace’s deer wander around everywhere and this must result in regular issues. The deer tend to sit around the greens which can make your approach shots rather interesting!
It is actually quite disconcerting when you have to play a shot over a deer’s head. If you are a little short on golfing talent there is always the chance that you might hit the deer. I once had to play a shot to the green at Hampton Court when it was surrounded not by deer but by a flock of geese. I completely under hit the shot. As the ball was dropping out of the sky towards the geese I covered my eyes and cringed but miraculously I managed to miss all of the birds. They didn’t so much as twitch!
I also have fond memories of a round in South Carolina when I found myself having to tee off next to an alligator! This was not an experience that I would like to repeat. I thought that the gator would be the most exciting aspect of the round until an American I was playing with decided to flout the club’s advice and go looking for his ball in a swamp. I yelled at him to get out of danger just before an extremely venomous Cottonmouth snake decided to appear at his feet. He certainly got out of the swamp rather sharpish then!
A few horses on the golf course might cause a bit of damage, but they are not nearly as problematic as the average alligator. Animals are occupational hazards for those who manage golf courses and the clubs in the UK don’t have to cope with such potentially awkward situations as those which often occur in the swamps of South Carolina and Florida.