I was thinking back to some memorable run-ins I had with animals on the golf course. Since we are often one and the same with nature while we golf, we have all probably observed many different forms of wildlife but have you ever interacted with any during your game or had your game affected by the actions of an animal?
Here’s my three most memorable moments:
- Attacked by a Canadian goose. The cart path on the par-3 15th at my local muni runs fairly close to a pond guarding the front of the green. After hitting my tee shot, I was walking on the path and carrying my bag. Apparently I got too close to a nest with young goslings and the mother goose took exception. She came at me fully airborne and I managed to duck down and keep my bag between her and me. In the process of crouching, I pulled down the front of my bag and mamma goose slammed into the raised back end. Now golf is known as a leisurely game but I’ve never run as fast on the golf course as I did that day. Every time I walk by that lake, I pull an iron, just in case.
- Reptile run in. Hit my tee shot into the woods on the par-3 14th at Falls Road in Potomac, MD. I arrived at my ball and it was surrounded by a six foot snake. Took an unplayable lie.
- Ball in motion moved. Back at Falls Road on the par-4 13th, the greens keeper’s shed is set back several yards behind the green. I had a 40 foot putt and after striking the ball, the greens keeper’s black Labrador retriever came hauling down from the shed and snatched my ball mid-putt and ran off. He returned it a minute later, dropping it back on the green and covered with slobber. I’m not sure of the ruling on that one and actually forgot how I played it at the time; it was many years ago.
Have you had a Wild Kingdom moment?
Up until last weekend’s round at Northwest, I had not. Sure, there have been the inevitable aches and pains after the first round of the year when the golf muscles are waking up, but nothing like the combo lat strain – hip flexor issue that be felled me. What’s frustrating is that I stretched and warmed up very well before play, the temperature was in the mid-80s and it was humid. I was very loose and felt great; probably as good as I’ve felt all year before a round.
Northwest is one of the longer courses we play and challenges every aspect of your game. I was cruising along at even par through four holes but had just driven into the right rough on number five. I hit a hard knock down four-iron a little right of the green for my approach, and that apparently was the culprit as I felt the twinge in my hip while walking to my ball. I managed to get up and down for par and then birdied the par-5 6th hole but noticed that I was limping as I made my way to the 7th tee. Still not sure what was wrong, I continued to play hard and parred 7, 8, and 9 to finish the front at 1-under, but noticed on the 8th that the pull in my back started bothering me. It was clear I should have retired at the turn, but who retires at 1-under par at Northwest? I’m usually around seven or eight over on this track with a two-over 74 as my all time best. I wasn’t going anywhere.
I lasted one more hole, with a par on #10 before things got ugly. Unable to put any weight on my right leg, I tried to bunt my way around the back nine and the ball striking and score went to straight to hell. 44 strokes later, I had my usual 7-over 79 and managed to ambulate back to the car.
So here I am on the DL writing this post instead of out playing my early morning 9 holes. I feel a little better because I can take the stairs pain free but still struggle when putting all my weight on my right leg. It’s so frustrating getting injured right in the middle of the season and right in the middle of my best round. I’m already getting antsy and was doing some pain free rug putting yesterday, so I’ll probably head out to the course with just a putter to try and stay with it mentally, but not tempt myself by bringing my other clubs and attempting something stupid.
Has anyone sustained a hip injury playing golf? How long is the recovery period and do you have any recommended exercises for rehab? Please share, thanks!