A serpent saves the day
How many of you golfers have shared a golf cart with a snake?
Chances are virtually all of you have encountered a snake on the golf course. Some of you may have had one in your golf cart. But after what I saw last Saturday, I will be willing to bet that many more of you have had a snake in your golf cart and didn't even know it. Circulated properly, this story could help alleviate some of the over crowded courses.
Let me explain.
Except for the actual playing of the game of golf, last Saturday was a near perfect day in Myrtle Beach to play golf. Playing with me was my good friend Steve, his son Justin, along with Tom, the poor sap who was paired with us by the Barefoot Resort and Golf pro shop.
We played the Greg Norman course at the Barefoot complex. It was my third day of golf at the complex and this round began like the others. That meant after three or four holes a chance to have a really good (for me that would be high 70's or low 80's) round was shot, and by the end of nine holes just breaking 90 was the only realistic goal.
Shooting a good score was not all that important on this day. Just being out among them was fine so long as I could hit a few decent shots and make a few putts and compete in our small stakes bet. That, I was able to do in large part because Steve was playing poorly also, just not as poorly as me.
Steve had won the front by two holes and was one up on the back as we were putting out on 13, a hole I had conceded in my mind to go two down on the back.
So, there we were, all four of us pretty much in a circle eyeballing our putts. I was the farthest from the golf carts, but the only one directly facing the carts as they sat on the cart path some 35 to 30 yards away.
Then I notice a smallish bird fluttering around near the ground. Then I see the bird is chasing a snake through the pine straw, seemingly trying to pick up the snake with its claws. This was amusing in itself because the bird was smaller than a robin and the snake was about four feet long. Nevertheless, the snake seemed to be more determined to somehow elude the bird than to fight back.
I forgot about the putt and went over to check out the snake. My movement chased off the bird, so my playing partners couldn't see the snake I was going to see. For the record, I do not like snakes, but as long as I see them first, I am not too intimidated as long as I am confident there isn't one to my rear.
Tom had told us earlier how a moccasin had been seen on one of the Barefoot roads the night before, so caution was in my mind as I approached the snake even though I don't recall ever seeing a moccasin before, so I probably wouldn't have known if it was or wasn't a moccasin. Most poisonous snakes I've encountered have diamond shaped heads and when I saw this snake had a thin head and was dark brown or black with two yellowish stripes going the length of his body, I felt confident it was nonpoisonous.
By now the other three were watching me intently, but had decided not join me in my observation of nature. I left the snake alone and went back to the green, but now the snake had everyone's attention. When I left the snake he (subsequently named Freddie) was laying motionless by the golf carts.
Back on the green we could see the snake in motion again, slithering past my golf cart and approaching Steve and Justin's golf cart. This prompted me to suggest to Steve, " Steve, I think that snake is going to get in your golf cart."
I was joking, but Steve watched intently as the snake slowly, but surely, moved toward the golf cart. As I watched I was sure the snake would continue on and enter the sawgrass a short distance beyond the golf carts.
He probably would have continued on, but Steve had seen enough, and he went to make sure the snake got away from his golf cart. By now the snake was on the cart path, partially under the golf cart. Steve's choice of a device to roust the snake was curious at best. Carrying a putter and a golf ball, Steve, who had not whiffed with his putter all day, chose to throw his golf ball at the snake. Predictably, the ball bounded off the concrete and into the sawgrass.
Undaunted, and with another golf ball in his pocket Steve, having learned from his past toss, this time lobbed the ball more gently at the snake. This maneuver seem to have the desired effect as the snake began to move. The thing is the snake crawled up by the left rear tire of the golf cart and did not appear out the other side. Upon closer inspection we could see the snake's tail still hanging by the rear tire. A last attempt to get the snake with a golf club only caused the tail to disappear into the rear axle area of the golf cart.
The first thing I figured out was that Steve dislikes snakes even more than I do. The foursome approaching from behind must have have thought we were lunatics as we screamed at the golf cart while banging it with golf clubs. The snake was not disturbed at all as he remained wherever snakes go when they crawl up the rear of a golf cart..
We moved the cart about 15 feet and he did not come out. We lifted the seat and could see nothing around the battery compartment, but we knew the snake was still there.
I looked at Tom and he agreed that while it was unfortunate their cart had a snake in it, that was no reason to quit playing, so Tom and I went to the next tee. Steve and Justin stayed behind for another minute or two and when they came around the corner, Justin was driving and Steve was standing in the golf cart with his rear end out the front window so he could watch his feet and see out the back of the cart in case the snake were to come out.
Suddenly the game was fun again. Justin had named the snake Freddie. I won the previous hole because Steve did not putt out and I did. Also, I was certain that my success had a good chance to continue because my opponent was truly distracted.
I was enjoying the moment. I assured Steve that the snake was "probably" harmless and to pretend that the snake wasn't even there. All of which prompted Steve to ask me if I had ever had a snake in my cart?
My reply was, "Not that I know of, but after what I just saw, I may very well have had a snake in my cart and never knew it." That is what is amazing. None of us cared to stick our heads under the golf cart to see where it was, or reach in to pull the snake out, but we know for a certainty that it was in there somewhere, we just didn't know where.
It is possible the snake had gotten out by the time we returned the golf cart, but it never happened while we were watching which was almost all the time. The ranger checked on 18 and the cart attendants checked at the cart return, but all they did was pull the seat and look at the battery compartment. My guess is there is room elsewhere for a snake to hang out.