Kangaroo GolfTales RJSmiley

Kangaroo On Golf Course

As winter approaches, know that it is summer in Australia. I would love to travel to the continent down under to play their golf courses and witness the wildlife.

Childhood memories of the excitement when the traveling circus came to our prairie town in western Kansas remain in my mind. There would be the “Circus Parade” down main street. The parade showed off the animals and entertainers. After the parade everybody, grandparents, parents and kids, would gather to watch the unbelievable action of setting up the huge tent that would soon contain three rings of continuous action. Part of the crew unloaded the elephants, lions, tigers, bears, horses and snakes. Even kangaroos.

All the circus people were working during set-up. The pretty women, who would soon be flying around the ring standing on a bare back horse, were setting up the booth where customers would soon be throwing baseballs at milk bottles to win a teddy bear. The circus was a big deal! 

I vividly remember a particular circus that featured a kangaroo boxing match. The ringmaster, in his tall black top hat, red coat (with tails), white pants and knee-high patent leather boots, announcing in a deep booming voice, “Ladies and gentlemen, for your entertainment in the featured center ring we bring to you, all the way from far off Australia, home of koala bears, duckbilled platypus and other unusual creatures, the boxing kangaroos.”

From opposite sides of the big top handlers lead kangaroos wearing boxing gloves toward the center ring. “We had front row seats!” The kangaroos looked very menacing. As they closed on each other, the action started immediately. A pushing-shoving two handed type of boxing was mixed with big kicks with one powerful leg while the kangaroo balanced on the other leg and their tail.

Male kangaroos fight to win a mate and to establish dominance over other kangaroos. During breeding season male kangaroos are busy! Much like young kittens or puppies who engage in wrestling matches, younger kangaroos often play-fight to prepare for adulthood.

Since that day 70+ years ago I have wanted to travel to the continent down under to observe kangaroos that are more abundant than rabbits. As golf has become a major part of my life, I have wanted to experience the golf courses in Australia, complete with the animals.

That circus memory (with the boxing roos) re-surfaced recently as I viewed a video of a golfer in Australia who was attacked by a kangaroo. The golfer, armed with a golf club, laid a few wild whacks on the roo.  The hits seemed to inspire the beast. 

The fight was on. Both combatants end up on the manicured turf, with the golfer finally going down for the count. Observing the video illustrated just how aggressive a male kangaroo may become. 

There are several videos online of incidents of golfers who encounter an aggressive kangaroo on a course. 

I have a bucket list of golf courses that I would love to play. There are areas of the world where I would love to experience their particular brand of courses. My reasons for those desires have changed as I have gotten older. Once, as a good young player who could hit it out there with the longest hitters, I wanted to play to experience the golf course as the course designer built it for championship tournaments. As a Golf Digest rating panelist, I’ve heard architects talk about their new courses. “They did not design them for the 20 handicap to enjoy.”

Today, I still play golf to compete. But I play to be up close and personal with Mother Nature. I dream of playing golf courses that have features that famed golf artist Bud Chapman would see. I sometimes dream of playing golf in Africa on golf courses that are home to lions, zebras, or elephants. 

I plan to travel to Australia to witness golf with the kangaroos!

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