While training for the 24 hour speed golf world record, Kowalski and I came face-to-face with a creature that stopped us dead in our tracks…
We had already knocked out 3 rounds of night golf on the Half Moon Bay Ocean Course when we headed to the tee box on the second hole. This night in particular was extremely dark, and when my head lamp shined toward the tee box, I noticed a glowing set of eyes staring directly at us. 👀
Me: “DUDE… WTF is that?!?!?!”
Kowalski: “Didn’t see anything… What are you talking about?”
Me: “Brocio, very low to the ground was a shining death stare right at us from some sort of wild animal… You didn’t see it? The bright eyes? The WIDE set? F*ck it. Let’s go.”
We proceeded to play the 2nd hole and then tee’d off on the 3rd hole, par 3. My shot was pin high in a swell off to the right of the green. As we were running over the first of two mounds on our way to the ball, Kowalski noticed the same set of eyes I had just seen. 😳
“Ummmm DUDE… There is a LARGE animal right by the glow in the dark ball.”
As we climbed the second mound, I spotted what Kowalski had just seen…
“Yup… I think that’s a BIG coyote… Hey buddy…”
At this point, still not exactly sure what type of animal it was, we slowly redirected our path backwards off of the mound to the left and around the side. This gave us a little more safety space between us and our new friend.
During our retreat, Kowalski caught another look…
Kowalski: “That’s NOT a f*cking coyote dude… That’s a BIG ASS CAT.”
As we came around the side of the mound, my headlight shined directly on the animal which was now HOVERING over the ball…
I then got my first real GOOD CLEAN LOOK… what I saw was a spectacle like I have never seen in my life…
Kowalski was right.
It wasn’t a coyote…
It was a fully grown mountain lion with a shredded, robust frame, gigantic looking rounded head, and a LONG tail that curled up off of the ground…
Me: “Stand tall dude… Don’t run… We will go to battle if we have to but we don’t want this fight…”
The cat (for fun sake we’ll call him Simba) was totally unfazed by our lights or our presence. It continued to stand firmly over our ball as if he was saying, “Come and GET IT.”
As I lifted my arms above my head in an attempt to appear bigger, Kowalski grabbed a rake from a nearby sand trap, and we stood our ground until finally the mountain lion slowly retreated.
At this point, I pulled out my phone and tried to capture the tail end (no pun intended) of the experience. We passively retrieved the glow in the dark ball, and then we had a major decision to make. The plan was to play 6-8 rounds and we were only 3 in…
Do we continue to play, knowing that we very easily could be getting stalked as prey the rest of the night, or do we shut it down and live to play another day. 🤷♂️
My original instinct was to keep charging, but Kowalski didn’t love the idea, so we decided to phone my nature loving, omnipotent wife, Tarah, and ask for her opinion of whether or not we should continue on…
“It’s up to you guys… Do you want to play cat and mouse all night? Because that’s what’s going to happen. You guys are in his hunting ground. That’s his territory.”
Tarah made some good points, and although I still believe we would have been fine, the anxiety and stress of a potential encounter would have made for a LONG night.
We don’t ever like backing down from a challenge, but sometimes in life, risk management is vital in order to guarantee that we keep moving FORWARD.
Now that I have had some time to reflect upon the experience (much like when the Great White Shark swam underneath us during the swim portion of the Triathlon Across America) I feel very grateful for the opportunity to have encountered Simba in his natural environment.
On the way out, we thanked Simba for sharing his course with us and told him we would be back April 22nd for the Let Them Play 24 Hour World Record Speed Golf Challenge.
We also told Simba that if there was any chance of optimizing our fundraising efforts to get kids playing, and if there was any possibility of breaking the world record of 401 holes played without a cart in 24 hours, we needed his cooperation…
Eating us or any of the spectators is NOT an option. ❌🍽
Of course, in return, we will officially dedicate the 3rd Hole with proper signage to the newly anointed King of The Course, our pal SIMBA. 🦁
To join Simba in supporting or sponsoring the event, visit:
FYI – The 3rd hole is no longer available. ⛳️