A 12-foot reason in favor of golf carts over walking
There have been occasions during my time as a writer at WorldGolf.com where I have suggested that walking a golf course is a superior experience over riding. It’s an argument that generally sparks passionate comments from each side.
As of today, I am dismissing my favor of walking and siding with the riding set.
Yes, I’m flip-flopping faster than a line cook at I-HOP.
The change in heart, you ask?
This morning I arrived to Hilton Head Island and was greeted with high-70 temps and not a cloud in the sky. Getting ready to tee off on the Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes, I decided I would walk. Days like these weren’t meant to be spent in a golf cart.
The Hills Course is plenty walker-friendly in terms of routing, despite going through a housing development at most points. After a string of pars to begin the back side, my round was going quite swimmingly.
That is until I was walking from the tee to the fairway on the 16th hole, which features a lake on the right side, then another past the fairway on the left.
It was so still I didn’t even see it until I was about 15 yards away. As I walked towards my tee shot, my peripheral vision spotted something that doesn’t belong. I didn’t have to turn my head more than 15 degrees right before I knew what it was: a gator bigger than I’ve ever seen outside of a zoo sitting in the rough. This thing had to have been twelve feet (way bigger than this guy). My heart skipped a few beats and I had to double-check my khakis to make sure I didn’t soil myself after I had scurried up the fairway.
I know these gators are generally harmless, and the thing barely moved as I crept past. But I’m a pale, Yankee wuss. (I’m not WorldGolf.com rube Tim McDonald, who when I played with him at the TPC of Myrtle Beach, would purposely duck-hook drives towards ponds in hopes he could find himself in a wrestle match with a large reptile of some kind. “Bring it on!” he would yell, splashing the swampy water with his 5-iron, hoping to avenge his old buddy Bubba’s gator mishap. Bubba now walks with a pegleg after his right leg was bitten off by one somewhere in the swamps of Marion County).
On my native Michigan courses, you’re never face-to-face with an animal that could eat you if it desired. So I’m a sitting duck down here. I watch far too little Discovery Channel to know what to do if the alligator had made a move at me. If he came after me and I had a golf cart, I would speed off in some zig-zags or maybe climb on top of the roof (Can alligators climb? Again, don’t watch enough Discovery…). Maybe I would use the cart as a pick and the gator chases me around it in circles (It would be quite hilarious to an onlooker from their backyard porch. They would probably wish a pianist was playing some rag time in the background - that is until the gator finally caught me and ripped my face off…).
I saw a member of Palmetto Dunes on the next hole and mentioned my close encounter. He explained, nonchalantly, that it was a female that just had eight babies last week.
That’s all I need to hear. If giant gators are spitting out eight offspring at a time, and are probably viciously protective of them, I’m not walking a course anywhere within 100 miles of the coast.
I can already see the dream I’m going to have tonight: I’ll wake up and the gator is crawling around on my hotel room floor asking me for breakfast. Or I hear “telegram” at my door in the morning, only to open it and she’s somehow standing upright, in a rain coat holding a butcher knife.
So long as I’m in the lowcountry, I’m resorting to the safer, speedier confines of a golf cart, and when I attend the PGA Merchandise Show in January, I’ll be looking for the vendor that is peddling Gator-Mase.
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could mess you up as well. And they run as fast
for longer than gators. (Both are TASTY though, if cooked up right.)
Alligator: tail meat 'tastes like chicken' and is excellent batter-fried and dipped in ranch dressing.
Grew up in MI and live in FL - both areas have their course hazards...and no one has YET mentioned the damm GEESE! ;)
It's a good thing had a cart with. Hopefully, a change of shorts too. Lol!