Gator Saves Golfer From Penalty Stroke

Encountering wildlife on the golf course is nothing new, and when you’re playing in Florida, that wildlife can become slightly more dangerous than the typical goose or deer you might see in other parts of the United States.

For Joanne Sadowsky, who was playing in a couples tournament last month at Bonita National Golf Club on the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Bonita Springs, Florida, an unlikely wildlife encounter actually helped her game.

Teeing off on the second hole, Sadowsky hit her shot towards the water hazard only to have an unlikely participant save her a penalty stroke.

“I shanked the ball to the right, and it was heading to the water,” Sadowsky told The Naples Daily News. “It was close to the gator’s head. He saw it, jumped up and caught it.”

Her pink golf ball ended up in the gator’s mouth and she was smart enough to snap a picture of it to prove to the doubters.

“It saved me from a hazard penalty,” Sadowsky said.

She was able to take a free drop under Rule 16-2. Dangerous Animal Condition, but it wasn’t enough to get her and her husband, Len, in the money at the event. 

“We came close but were just out of the money,” Sadowsky said.