IT seems the eternal battle between golfers and alligators continues with a 75 year old Florida player suddenly finding himself being dragged off by a hungry 10 foot female.
Reports say Tony Aarts was exiting the fourth green at the Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club last week when he was attacked.
“I heard a big splash behind me … and an alligator was right there. It grabbed my right foot,” the Cape Coral man told InsideEdition.com. “I was on my back and she got ahold of my foot, trying to grab me in -well, she did drag me in.”
Aarts yelled out trying to get the attention of his golfing companions but they were obviously too busy filling out their score cards or talking about their hard luck missed putts. He realized he would have to take matters into his own hands and brought his trusty Cleveland heavy putter into play.
“I was up to my knees and it was shaking its head, trying to wiggle me into the water. I thought ‘Oh God, I’m in trouble’ and I remembered I had the golf club,” he said.
Aarts began hitting the alligator in the head and body, but saw that those blows weren’t make much of a difference.
“You don’t want to hurt them at first … like when a dog grabs you, you might hit it but you don’t club it to death – but this wasn’t a dog,” he said. “I started hitting him in the eye, I thought that was my only chance. It let go and I scrambled backwards and by that time the guys were there.”
[quote]Think of the ball, not the alligator[/quote]
Aarts made it out of the encounter with three puncture wounds and considerable bruising. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.
Aarts said he had seen the gator that attacked him before, as the nearly 10-foot long, 300-pound female stuck out.
“Not very often do you see them that big on a golf course,” he said.
“I was lucky because I was on slippery, grassy area. I was lucky because the lake was heavily sloped and not steep. And I had a putter in my hand,” Aarts said. “If I didn’t have a good, heavy putter, I would’ve been gone for sure. I would’ve been defenceless … in one, two seconds I would have been gone.”
Aarts reckons he’s going back to the course – where he might have some renewed faith in his putter, and also maybe a powerful new swing thought.
“I’m going to come back on Wednesday—I want to ride around and I want to make sure I can handle being there,” he said. “If I’m going to play golf, I have to think of the ball, not the alligator.”
[box]According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission there have been 388 alligator bites varying in severity—but including 24 fatalities—in Florida from 1948 to 2016.[/box]