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Wildlife Encounters on the Golf Course

Over the years I have encountered a variety of wildlife out on the golf course, human and otherwise. In this blog, we’ll focus on the non-humans. We can talk about that foursome in front of you next time.

One of the things I enjoy about being on the golf course is simply being outdoors, tied into nature. A round of golf can turn out to be a great nature walk if you take the time to look around. The type of wildlife you run into will vary depending on what part of the world you live or play in. I’ve been fortunate over the years to not only play in Southern California, where I live, but also in Florida, North and South Carolina, the Caribbean, Japan, China and Indonesia. Every place I’ve played I’ve run into different wildlife, some a little more interesting than others.

In Southern California we have a variety of terrain: desert, canyons, beach and mountains.


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Green River Golf Club

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As a result, you’ll often see hawks circling above a course, or riding a thermal up out of a canyon, looking for their next meal. In the early mornings or evenings, it’s not uncommon to spot deer feeding along a fairway. One of the more interesting things I’ve seen was at Mile Square Golf, a public course situated in a large public park. I hit a shot into a fairway bunker. I rolled up to the bunker and found my ball, sitting just a few feet from a fox sunning itself in the sand. The fox had dug a burrow in the side of the trap and didn’t seem the least bit bothered by my presence. I’m pretty sure I was not the first human it had ever seen.

I’ve seen a lot of different types of birds on courses. As I mentioned, I’ve seen hawks, Ibis and tropical birds overseas. On a golf trip to Charlotte, a friend and I played a golf course just over the state line in South Carolina. As we proceeded from hole to hole, a couple of times we ran across a rafter of turkeys.


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Our gallery at Springfield Golf Club

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That was a first. Here in SoCal there are the ever present crows, just waiting at the tenth tee for a snack of hot dogs and chips while you tee off!

We’ve all seen the videos and news clips of alligators on the courses in Florida so I won’t go into great depth about them.

It’s Florida, alligators are everywhere!

I’ve visited Singapore a number of times over the years but I never played golf there. Instead, I made multiple day and weekend golf trips to Bintan, a common golf destination for those living in Singapore. The courses there are cut along the ocean and through the jungle.


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Keep it in the #fairway on this one. Ria Bintan #golf #indonesia #bintan

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I’ve been fortunate to play both Ria Bintan and Bintan Lagoon. As a result I encountered a new variety of wild life on the course. In addition to the tropical birds I saw (and heard) in the trees, we also ran across large lizards and monkeys. On one round, I recall hitting a nice drive down the middle of the fairway. My caddy and I drove up the fairway and as we approached the ball a large monitor lizard was crossing the fairway. My caddy told me to stop and we just waited for it to finish crossing the fairway. While a common occurrence there, it was a new one for me.

The other new experience was there are monkeys everywhere.


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Regardless of where you play #golf, there are animals just waiting for you to turn your back. In #Bintan it was monkeys. #golfcourse

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They’re smart little guys, they wait in the tree for you to venture away from your cart and then they take action. On one hole we were driving up the fairway towards the green and my caddy (a valuable local resource) told me to park in front of the green, which I found puzzling. I asked why and her response was, “Because the monkeys will get in the cart while you’re on the green if you don’t”. Our playing partners didn’t have a caddy, so there didn’t get this valuable piece of local knowledge. They parked on the cart path, not knowing any better. Sure enough, as we putted the monkeys attacked their cart, grabbing anything that looked interesting and heading back into the safety of the trees.

What interesting wildlife have you seen in the course? Have a picture? Put a comment and a link below and share your stories of your golf wildlife encounters.