Animals on the golf course steal the show

A black bear stole the show at the U.S. Senior in Colorado last week. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe joked that the bear showed the tour perfect golf etiquette by waiting for the golfers to come down the fairway and for the officials to lift up the rope before cutting across.

It was a bit of an exaggeration, but how funny was that? The bear was just wandering around the 13th hole, not bothering any of the golfers or spectators, and it didn’t look like anyone was afraid of it either.

Later, there was a fox that pounced on its prey in the bushes and a deer pranced around, also crossing a back nine fairway.

It was definitely one of the highlights of my day, Friday. It just made me think about how fun it is to encounter animals on the golf course. The cute and cuddly ones like bears and pigs, of course, unlike the one this next guy got close to.

Last year, a Tennessee man was attacked by an alligator at a Florida golf course. His ball landed close to a water hazard, and with an alligator nearby, instead of taking the drop and extra strokes, he decided he was going to retrieve. Seriously, if it was up to me and I had to save my arm or save par, I’m pretty sure I’d save my arm.

Then there are some snakes slithering around some of the courses near deserts. How scary would that be to look into the bushes for your ball and have a snake launch itself at you?

I’ve heard of it happening, but I’m really glad we don’t have any snakes here.

What we do have are chicken and pigs. It’s surprising, though, that because I’m so used to the chickens that they don’t even bother me on the course.

One of my favorite golf course stories is when my boyfriend and I were playing at the Olomana Golf Course on the Windward side of O‘ahu. We were paired up with a couple of guys.

We had just teed off and on our way back to our carts, I saw a mongoose hop out of our partners’ cart with a musubi in his mouth.

“He just took off with my lunch,” the guy said.

I was laughing for at least the next couple of holes. I remember thinking how smart the mongoose at that course must be and that they must do that type of thing all the time. I imagined the mongoose unrolling the musubi from the plastic wrapper like he had done it a million times before, robbing golfers of their snacks on a daily basis.

At that same course, I had a cardinal swoop in and take a huge chunk out of my char siu pork manapua. It was like that bird had been following the cart just waiting for me to put down my food.

Dealing with wild creatures is just part of the fun of being on the golf course, at least for me.

My ultimate favorite story, though, is the one of the three little pigs on the back nine at the Pali Golf Course. My first time there, it was a rainy day and my boyfriend and I were going down the hill for our second shots and the marshall comes our way and he says to us, “Don’t worry about the pigs. I’ve already fed them.”

“Pigs?” I asked, thinking he was joking.

“Yeah, there are three little ones over there,” he says.

And sure enough, there they were. They were the cutest little things ever. They always stay around that area, too, because every time we play at Pali, they’re there. And they get bigger every time.

While we don’t get anything nearly as exciting as the Mainland or international courses that have all sorts of animals running around, we get our fair share.

I’m playing the Ka‘anapali Kai on Maui on Monday. I wonder what type of animals, if any, I will see there.

• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com

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