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'Caddyshack' was funny ...
Golfers at MacDill's course only laugh
when it's not their wallet a raccoon
By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE
Published February 10, 2007
A raccoon searches
for food in a golf cart on hole two
at the South Course of MacDill Air Force
Base Golf Club in Tampa Friday.
TAMPA - This is a story of a golfer's
lament. No, not rain or wind or pricey
The problem here is
the "stinkers" who haunt 18
otherwise placid fairways at MacDill
Air Force Base.
Perhaps the raccoons
on the south course at MacDill's Bay
Palms Golf Complex are no different
than those at golf courses around the
world. Maybe they just seem like a particularly
deft and talented bunch.
But some golfers swear
these raccoons wait until you line up
a putt before they emerge from the woods
and ransack your cart.
Sure, they love their
bags of chips. Candy bars. Soda cans.
But leave the car keys in the golf cart
at your own peril. Watches best stay
on wrists, otherwise they'll be walked
off into the woods. Raccoons have been
known to open golf bags.
And they love purses.
"They stole two
purses on the same day," says beverage
cart driver Roz Schreiber, recalling
a ladies tournament that ended in a
massive search for the missing handbags.
"We took a backhoe to search in
the trees because we were afraid of
snakes. We found three purses. That
third one had been in there a while
by the looks of it."
Joan Gust, 69, of San
Antonio in Pasco County, calls them
Her husband, Richard,
73, says the raccoons sometimes stand
on either side of a cart path and wait
for someone to pass, certain of the
quarry in an unattended cart.
my wallet yet," he jokes.
Just wait. Golfer Don
Wolf, 67, of Wesley Chapel, remembers
the guy who left his wallet lying in
"All of a sudden,
we heard the guy screaming, 'Stop! Stop!'
The raccoon had the wallet in his mouth
and was headed for the woods,"
Wolf says. "The guy was chasing
it with a club, an iron, I think. Of
course, we were dying laughing. We played
The offending raccoon
dropped its plunder.
Bill Murphy of American
Services Technology traps the raccoons
when they get too aggressive, relocating
them on the base. He says they're not
too problematic for golfers, more an
But golfers have to
learn not to feed the animals, he says.
"I actually think
Walt Disney did the world a disservice
by portraying raccoons as cute, cuddly
creatures who wash their hands before
they eat," Murphy says.
Air Force Lt. Omar Villarreal
plays the south course but has had little
problem with the raccoons - compared
to the vervet monkeys of Kenya.
Villarreal, a public
affairs officer at MacDill, was assigned
to Kenya for a short time last year.
He played one round in the East African
"You'd hit a good
shot, the best shot you'd hit all day,
and a monkey would run out, grab your
ball and run back into the trees,"
he says. "You'd look at your caddy,
and he'd just kind of shrug his shoulders.
You'd hit a second ball. And that ball
slices into the trees," hence saving
the monkey a trip.
"Now the monkey
has two balls," Villarreal says.
Another golfer's lament.
William R. Levesque
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 813 226-3436.
[Last modified February
10, 2007, 09:47:15]