Senor Alligator

Senor Alligator

For over 20 years we traveled to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo for two weeks every winter. The Club De Golf was a great test. But the weather, the people and the wildlife made everyday wonderful. A large lake bordered holes 4, 5, 6 & 7. Many times I witnessed employees diving for golf balls. They searched for golf balls in pairs in a crude hand made dug-out canoe. One would dive, the other would keep watch for alligators.

Hector, a jockey sized and obviously poor maintenance worker at Club De Golf Palma Real in Ixtapa, Mexico pulled his over-loaded cart along side our cart. We were in the middle in the middle of the 5th fairway. With a huge smile, he proudly displayed a clear plastic bag of beautifully cleaned Titleist Pro V1’s. Then he asked, “Senor, want to buy….. golf balls?”

The stunning 5th hole on this Trent Jones, Jr. design, with a mountain in the background, has a lake on the right that runs the full length of this 400 yard beauty. Have your smart phone ready, the 5th hole is a great place to take pictures or videos of the numerous alligators that make their home at this fresh water oasis. With no bunkers or humps to block the view from the slightly elevated tee, the numerous sleeping reptiles resemble beached logs along the waters edge. On a recent trip to Ixtapa we counted fourteen of these pre-historic monsters sunning themselves lazily along the fairway. The great grand-daddy of them all, Rex (Spanish for King), who was normally found near the small pond that guards the 4th hole, died this last winter. When he was dragged off the course by a tractor he nearly broke the scale at a whopping 460 kilos (about 1,000 lbs.). His length was over 12 feet.

Luis Valle, my Mexican friend, host, and golf partner gave Hector a friendly greeting in the not-so-perfect-Spanish that is spoken by the locals. I then asked Hector, “How much?”

He replied, “One dollar American senor.”

I knew that Hector could speak very little English, so I told Luis, “tell Hector when I owned the golf course in Minnesota we would give our workers $.25 for each golf ball they found on the course.”

Luis delivered the message. A animated conversation between Luis and Hector lasted about a minute. Then Luis turned to me with a big smile on his face, “Hector say, in Minnesota there are no alligators!”

For five bucks, I now own six almost new Pro V1’.


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