There is more than one reason golfers playing in the
2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island need to stay out of the rough
this week. Apart from the obvious hope of keeping their golf shots to a
minimum, much of the wildlife that occupies the
marshes and long grass around the Ocean Course is equipped with sharp
teeth.

Play was briefly interrupted on the 14th
hole yesterday afternoon, when a black snake his its view of the golf
blocked by the gallery. The four-foot, non-venomous snake slid inside
the ropes by the 14th green, and might
have got away with his intrusion were it not for the shrieks of a woman
spectator, who was sitting in the grass as the snake slid immediately
in front of her.

10 yards away, Adam Scott paused before playing a bunker shot onto the 14th
green, while playing partner Sergio Garcia displayed admirable
snake-charming skills. The Spaniard gently attracted the snake’s
attention with the head
of his putter, and encouraged it back into the long grass behind the
gallery.

While black snakes are harmless to people,
cottonmouths and rattlesnakes also thrive at Kiawah Island, both of
which pack a highly venomous bite.

The biggest teeth around the Ocean Course belong to
its population of 600 alligators, who live in and around the layout’s
many fresh-water marshes. Wherever there is water on the Ocean Course,
there are alligators too. The American alligators
can grow up to 14 feet in length, and Perry Baker, of South Carolina’s
Department of Parks, offers fair warning: “The alligators you can see
don’t pose a danger. It’s the ones you can’t see that you have to worry
about.”

Most surprising of all about Kiawah’s alligators is
that over the past 10 years, only one golfer has been bitten, and he was
a Swedish visitor who decided to catch a baby alligator. He got more
than he bargained for, but lived to tell the
tale.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, official car of the 2012 PGA Championship