Major golf hazard: South Carolina man lands shot on back of 7-foot alligator

OKATIE, S.C. — Birdies and eagles are coveted in golf. Gators are another matter.

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A South Carolina man decided not to play his shot where it landed on Monday, since it came to rest on the back of a 7-foot alligator.

David Ksieniewicz said his ball came to rest on the reptile while he was playing at Spring Island Club in Okatie on Monday, WCIV reported.

A photo taken by Ksieniewicz’s daughter, Kristine Robinson, shows the ball neatly on the gator’s back. Robinson posted her photo on Facebook, noting that “Dad is now famous ... for his unique golf swing and aim.”

“We determined that my dad ... should probably consider this dangerously shanked shot unplayable and start over,” Robinson wrote.

Shot of the day! Under rule 16.1, which addresses “abnormal course conditions,” the player is “entitled to take relief...

Posted by Kristine Robinson on Monday, April 5, 2021

Smart idea. And Ksieniewicz has the rules of golf on his side. According to the rules of the U.S. Golf Association, players may encounter “abnormal course conditions.” That allows players to take “relief” by moving their ball or dropping a new ball in a safe and reasonable location for their next shot without being penalized a stroke.

If ever a player needed relief, this was one of those times.

USGA Rule 16.2(a) specifies “dangerous animals” qualify for such relief if their presence near a ball “could cause serious physical injury to the player if he or she had to play the ball as it lies.”

Ksieniewicz was able to take a safe drop without bothering the alligator and was able to continue his game, WCIV reported.