Can You Spot The Snake? Dangerous Animals On The Golf Course.
There is a copperhead in this photo. Seriously. Click on it to embiggen.
I found the photo in the twitter feed of a herpetologist, and it got me to thinking about just what sort of critters might lay just off the fairways of my favorite golf courses. I play much of my golf on courses cut through woods and on munis with untended deep rough — prime areas for snakes and other hostile critters.
Fortunately in Michigan, dangerous animals are pretty much limited limited to the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. We don’t have alligators, copperheads, cotton mouths, coral snakes, gila monsters, fire ants, killer bees, or wild boar. Michigan has black bears, but I have never seen one. The Michigan DNR says that there are as many as 15,000 black bears, ninety percent of whom live in the Upper Peninsula. Rumors of cougars also exist in the Upper Peninsula. While the last cougar was believed shot in 1906, the DNR conforms 26 sightings since 2006. Not enough to worry about.
Playing from the middle of the fairway is the best plan to avoid dangerous animals, but golf balls are as uncooperative as cats, and like cats often end up in undesired places.
I have long been on the lookout for poison ivy, oak and sumac when my ball runs off the fairway. I also will usually brush a club around ahead of me as I step into brush or woods looking for a ball.
This photo, however, makes me think that I should do my club sweep a little more vigorously. I don’t need to encounter dangerous animals on the golf course.