Giant Golf Course Gators Remind Us Who Was Here First

Fripp Island, SC is a secluded sanctuary showcasing the natural beauty of the lowcountry’s pristine beaches, lagoons, and crab choked estuaries. In the off-season, less than 1,000 people call Fripp Island home. But what this gorgeous 6.5 mile retreat lacks in human inhabitants, it more than makes up for in indigenous animal species like deer, wild hogs, sea birds, and some pretty massive American alligators!

What makes Fripp Island even more unique are the efforts taken by developers to respect and preserve the native flora, fauna and wildlife species. A private, gated home community, a handful of restaurants, and two golf courses have been constructed to coexist with – rather than overtake – the island’s natural resources.

Preserving Fripp Island as a wildlife sanctuary means that locals and visitors experience incredible encounters with deer, loggerhead sea turtles and aquatic birds. As majestic as these animals are, there is nothing quite like a run-in with one of the island’s most ancient residents.

Last week a handful of golfers and a pair of white-tailed deer watched in stunned silence as “Big Al,” an American alligator, leisurely made his way across the fourth fairway at Ocean Point Golf Links. Al’s friends at the Fripp Island Activity Center shared his stroll from one pond to the next on Facebook.

The 12-foot gator has long been a peaceful resident at Ocean Point, and many suspect that he may have been around even longer than the 60-year-old course! The following video shows one of Big Al’s cousins – measuring 10-11 feet – ambling his way across the green.

Although the sight of a 10 – 12 foot gator can certainly throw off your golf game, naturalists at the Fripp Island Activity Center recommend staying calm and keeping your distance should you have an encounter with Big Al or any other gator.

Alligators are far more dangerous in the water than they are on land, so give their ponds and lagoons a wide berth. In other words, if your ball hits a water hazard on Fripp Island, don’t take a swim, take a penalty stroke!

Featured Image via Facebook/ABC 13 Houston