Saturday, 14 September 2013

The golfer and the lioness



Golfing with lions – risky stuff…..


Sign on the third fairway of the Skukuza Golf Club, Kruger National Park:-

Directly translated (something is always lost in the translation) it says

Antelope – Dead – Hit

Huge – Fright – Stream

Here’s how the little stream got re-baptised:

Frans Laubscher, then chief civil engineer in the Park left his office ‘maybe a little early’ on that fateful Tuesday afternoon.  He was going to play a quick couple of holes on his own in an effort to improve his game.  That late on a Tuesday afternoon the course was deserted.  The Committee had just started their monthly meeting in the clubhouse, but otherwise there was no-one around.

Frans grabbed a couple of clubs from his bag and headed for No. 1.


When he teed up on No.3, he noticed a herd of impala grazing halfway down the fairway.  This is a very common sight, and he paid no heed.  His drive was a masterpiece, and when his ball sailed into the herd, they took off at speed, which is par for the course.  Except this time there was a supine impala left lying in the middle of the fairway. 

Thinking he may have stunned it, Frans walked up to the animal only to discover to his dismay that he had actually killed the impala with the golf ball.  He was still pondering this unlikely scenario when there was a threatening roar from the nearby bush.  Frans was an old hand in the Park, and was not unduly worried, as it was still broad daylight.  He got up and started retreating slowly while the roaring increased in ferocity.  Obviously the lion was intent on claiming the kill. 

He had retreated several yards when a lioness exploded from the thicket and charged.  Frans knew that turning his back or even thinking about running would guarantee certain death.  With nerves of steel he froze – the lioness would claim the kill and drag it back into the bush.

That’s what was supposed to happen, but it didn’t.  She cleared the carcass and kept on coming straight at him.  He later remarked that at this stage his frozen state wasn’t due to ‘nerves of steel’.  He was simply unable to move.  He knew that his brand-new Big Bertha driver wasn’t going to impress this lady at all.

The lioness skidded to a halt right in front of him, snarling and showing off her very impressive dentition.  After a stalemate moment Frans took another slow, tiny step backwards.  She allowed him to, and held her ground.  With very slow and careful steps Frans increased the distance.

The lioness seemed to be calming down and he increased his pace slightly.  Once he was well away she broke off and turned away.  Frans increased his pace considerably – he probably would have made a fool of Ben Johnson.

Back at the clubhouse the meeting was in full swing.  Nick de Beer, one of the committee members later told me Frans came flying into the clubhouse without a word, white as a sheet.  He headed straight for the fridge without greeting anyone, gulped down a beer in a single swallow, opened another one and sat down mumbling something along the lines of “sheeeeit…. F**k me…..”

It took a while and another beer before they could get any sense out of him.

This was not normal behaviour (referring not to Frans, but to the lion) so they all got into a vehicle to investigate.

On the fairway they found the dead impala and a few scattered golf clubs.  When they exited the vehicle for a closer inspection, the lion started up again and they wasted no time in getting back into the vehicle.

In the thicket they discovered an irate lioness suckling four new born cubs.

That explained it all.  It also explained why Frans’ game took a serious downswing from that day on,  especially when playing in lion country.

 Novels by Leon Mare

The Sam Jenkins trilogy:        Poacher,      Cheetah in the Rain,       Fighting AIDS

Psychological thriller:            Show me a Reason – the lives and times of Michelle Montagne.

                Available on Amazon, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords etc.

Poacher is currently in the top 2% on the bestseller list.








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