By TGA Director Jim Brown, Dallas (Dallas Athletic Club)
While working as a Referee for the 2019 Southeastern Conference
Golf Championship at Sea Island Resort in Georgia, I was called over to the
second hole on the Seaside Course to give a second opinion for a University of
Georgia player’s ball. The situation was the ball had come to rest near a water
hazard and was dangerously close to an alligator that was staring down the
interlopers who had invaded its territory.
The Georgia coach and I were standing on a small hill that
angled down toward the water (and the gator). We stood there for a minute and discussed
what relief, if any, the player would get.
A small gathering of people had collected to see what the
ruling would be. Suddenly, the alligator made a turn with his tail, splashing
both the coach and me with swamp water! We both fell down and skidded on the
grass toward the gator. YIKES!
Fortunately, we were both able to stop ourselves before sliding
into the water. After we quickly collected ourselves, we hightailed it away. The
small gathering of witnesses thought it much funnier than the coach and I did!
Once the gator splashed away from us, the player was able to
see that the ball in question wasn’t his. I determined his ball was lost in the
red-staked penalty area. He took relief with two club lengths and played on.
I made sure to watch my footing near the water for the rest
of the week!
Tony McCormick, Corpus
Christi (River Hills CC)
was the early 1990s, and I was playing golf at River Hills Country Club in
Corpus Christi. I was in the rough on the right of the 17th fairway under a
tree. I was addressing my shot when I felt something hit my right shoulder and
thud at my feet.
looked down to find a 6-foot king snake had fallen out of the tree and hit me
on the way down. The sound that emanated from my lips was not my normal pitch!
Fortunately, it was the 17th hole, so the
round was almost over. I was about 140 yards from the green when it happened,
and it took me a few minutes to gain my composure before I could hit my next
was my scariest moment on the golf course.
By Randy Johnson, Georgetown (Berry Creek CC)
years ago, I was playing with a friend at Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston.
On the 18th hole, my playing partner hit his approach just left of the green,
against a large pine tree. As we walked to his ball, and were about 10 feet
from it, he said, “I’m going to take a drop.”
he started to pick up the ball, I noticed a large water moccasin coiled up next
to the ball! He didn't see the snake, and I didn't have time to warn him!
before he reached down, I threw a body block into him. Because of the
adrenaline, I knocked him 7-8 feet away! Laying on the ground, he looked at me
and said, “What the hell did you do that for?!”
said, “Look at your ball!”
looked, and at first didn’t see the snake even then. When he finally saw it, he
almost passed out! And I got a free dinner that night!
Harold Danford, Kerrville (Riverhill CC)
13th hole at Riverhill Country Club has a dam on it with a bunch of rocks.
When you’re walking the course, there’s a shortcut to the green that takes you
over the dam.
what I was doing one day, when I stepped down onto a rock on that dam.
Suddenly, a snake wrapped its tail around my ankle. I was stepping down onto
the rock under which the rest of the snake (his head, most importantly) was
trapped. I had the snake’s head trapped, but he had me trapped, too.
was in a quandary! If I tried to reach down and uncoil the snake from my ankle,
I would’ve had to lift my foot off the rock that was trapping the snake’s head,
and I was sure he would’ve bitten me. I was basically stuck there.
called over to the other guys in my group. It took a few minutes, but they
eventually killed the snake with a big rock. Believe me, it was a scary deal.
still play at Riverhill, I still walk most of the time, and I still take the
shortcut across the dam on No. 13.
I think about that snake every single time I play that hole.
By Vonda Warren, Wink (Winkler County GC)
My partner and I were playing at Gaines County Golf Course
several years ago in a two-lady scramble. There was a large goose on one of the
holes, and it had been there for years.
My partner had hit a shot on that hole that ended up close
to the goose. As she walked over to get her ball, the goose literally went on
the attack. It charged her and started pecking at her!
My partner fell down as she was trying to flee, and we had
to run after the goose with our clubs to chase it away from her. It was
As we were having lunch and an awards presentation after the
round, a trailer came and picked up the goose and it was permanently removed
from the course. It had been there for years, and this was the first time it
had ever attacked someone.
It was definitely scary!
By Tim Gamso, Dallas (Dallas CC)
about 1967 I was hitting golf balls on the range at my dad’s club in Mobile,
Ala. A young boy about 8 years old came up and said a snake was on the 17th
green near the hole. He asked if I could come get it off the green.
walked over there and saw a 3-foot snake sunning itself on the green. It was
early spring, so it was probably just coming out of hibernation. I immediately
abandoned the idea of using my 3-iron to move it and instead chose the
took the flagstick and tried to roll the snake down into the lake. Since it was
just out of hibernation, it couldn’t see me clearly, though. The snake started
striking out in random directions each time I rolled him over. When I say,
‘started striking,’ I mean head out, fangs exposed and leaping into the air in
couldn’t jump far enough to reach me, and often jumped in a different direction
than where I stood. Still, witnessing a snake attempt to strike and bite the
perpetrator was scary. This happened about six or seven times until it finally
crawled off toward the water.
I may have looked brave to that 8-year-old boy, but I was
scared to death. I hate snakes!