Go Wild! Golf course to run throughSafari
By BART SHERMAN
Area duffers are betting a new golf course winding through Rockton’s African Lion Safari will offer the ultimate in physical and emotional challenges. Players will have to out-race hungry lions, fend off pesky baboons, and negotiate herds of elephants to get around the 18-hole layout.
“Being out there with the big cats is going to be amazing — and terrifying,” Seth Shagbaggio said. “I understand they’re going to let you take a cart if you’re a bit scared.” “Actually,” explains Victor Speel, new head pro at African Lion Safari Golf & Game, “carts are mandatory, more or less, at the fenced-in track. It’s going to be fairly challenging,” he said, “so we’re going to cover the carts with some armour and give them a little power boost. You won’t be able to get away from the cheetahs, but they sleep most of the time anyway.”
Lion in the Rough
“Certain golfers will be allowed to walk/run the course,” Speel said. “Those golfer will have to prove their prowess at running and hiding, and will have to wear special protective helmets — and sign a disclaimer. Either way, you might want to keep one club out of your bag and in your hand at all times,” he chortled with a wink.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the par-72 course just off Safari Road. The first hole on the front 9 will be a par-3, with the green surrounded by giraffes and wildebeest. Lofty iron shots required there. The fun really begins on the sixth hole, where a pride of lions will be lazily sunning themselves in the trees along the par-5 fairway.
Beware Baboon Fore-play
On the back nine, massive piles of elephant and rhinoceros droppings will make putting a real challenge. Meanwhile, sex-crazed baboons will accost you all the way up No. 17. “The baboons — rascals! — should only be a serious problem in mating season,” Speel assured. “That’s basically just May to September.”
African Lion Safari officials are hoping the golf course attracts a more adventurous style of patron to the facility, while still allowing regular families a full-day, value-added experience.
“What an eyeful for the kids, eh?” said park ranger Tooly Jones. “They’ll be right there at the fence watching ol’ dad battle a crazed hyena, or wrestle his golf ball out of the snapping jaws of an alligator. Try that on for size, Disney!”
Plans are to offer night play, using glow-in-the-dark, meat-scented balls.