It has to be said that neither I nor my golfing friends are players of any great skill. We are perfectly capable of some great shots from time to time and have even delivered some impressive rounds but things don’t always go entirely to plan. Whilst we have had some wonderful days golfing we have also had a few mishaps. None of these involved a fatality or anything truly drastic but we have had to explain a damaged club house, injured wildlife and some very strange behaviour!
If I was going to get attacked by some local wildlife I expected such an event to occur in the Floridian swamps not in Guildford! I had arrived at the course and needed to check in. As I put my hand on the entrance to the club house a swan which was standing on the terrace jumped at me and started furiously pecking away. I couldn’t fight him off and a member of staff was forced to beat him off me with a patio chair! I was badly bruised by the creature and have been wary of swans ever since.
A friend of mine was a member at the Hampton Court Palace Golf Club and invited me to join him for a round. I was really enjoying the experience as the course is great and there are stunning views of the palace. The wildlife was lovely too with many deer around the course. When we arrived at the 12h hole there were deer sitting around the green and I wasn’t keen on making my approach shot in case I hit one. My friend was not so reticent and took his shot immediately. Accuracy was never his strong point and his ball flew through the air at high velocity and landed right on the head of one of the poor unsuspecting creatures. It was stunned and for a moment I thought he had killed it but it eventually jumped up and started to run away. The rest of the herd obviously believed there was a threat and the whole lot of them started to stampede running straight across another hole and scaring the living daylights out of the foursome in the fairway. Oops!
Myrtle Beach is a fabulous place to play golf and boasts many incredible courses. My absolute favourite is the Witch, a gorgeous course built on reclaimed swampland and surrounded by forest. I was playing a round there with two guys from America when one of them sent a wayward tee shot into the trees. There are warnings everywhere that golfers should not attempt to retrieve balls which have missed the fairway due to the hazardous nature of the wildlife. This chap felt it would be OK to take a look as the ball did not appear to have travelled far off piste and against my better judgement I followed him into the bushes. After a few seconds he leapt in the air screaming and ran out onto the fairway. I was screaming and jumping too and I didn’t even know why. When he had calmed down I asked him what was going on and he explained that a cottonmouth had slithered across his feet. The highly venomous snake had scared him half to death. That was the last time we looked for a ball that day.
After a very pleasant round at Darenth Valley my friend and I were approaching the 18th green. He had a short pitching wedge to the pin and decided to copy the Phil Mickelson full swing with an open club face to gain loft and stop the ball. Sadly he did not possess quite as much finesse as Mickelson and the ball shot off the club face, over the green and smashed into the roof of the clubhouse breaking tiles and damaging the flashing. Broken bits of tile then fell on the golfers relaxing on the terrace. We reported my friend’s misconduct to the club after the round and apologised for the broken roof. They were very pleasant about the incident but we haven’t returned since!
Article By Sally Stacey