A birdie, an eagle – or a crocodile

I SEE a whole new industry.

Yes, I know someone has already invented extreme sports. Extreme skating, extreme skiing, extreme climbing…

But this is taking the concept to a whole new level. Extreme golf!

Bugger the tricky dog’s leg at hole number three; or the three bunkers that line hole number nine… the big question is: can you get off a decent drive over the herd of crocodiles so you can walk round to the green outside the protective barriers, or will you fall short and have to chance it through the middle, wondering whether your next club should be a five, a seven or a niblik?

And that’s just to beat off the crocs!

There are two of them. Sunbathing in the lake at Townsville Gold Club. And actually they’re not a herd; they’re a float. A float of crocodiles, is what they’re called when they get together. Except that they’re not floating.

Crocodiles lurk. The hang almost totally submerged in the water, with eyes like radar scanners. Waiting…

Not sunbathing at all, probably. More like… browsing through the menu.

Maybe it’s some kind of karma for all the times we’ve been to restaurants, peered through the walls of the tank, and picked out our lobster.

Personally I don’t think we’re taking this seriously enough. Everyone thinks it amusing because they’ve only been there a year and they’re not very big. But in the Townsville Bulletin on Tuesday they were a metre long; on the TV news on Thursday night they were two-metres long. That kind of growth only happens with a high protein diet.

Has anyone checked the member’s register lately? Are there regular players who have stopped coming… suddenly…?

And soon they’ll be three metres, then four!

And here’s the catch – it’s against the law in Queensland to kill or relocate a native wild animal! The crocs will still be smiling, but they might be the only ones.

And anyway, we need to get our sense of scale back within the realms of sanity. In other places in Australia golfers stroll past wallabies and consider themselves blessed. In England it’s hedgehogs. Crocodiles are… excessive.

At least the basketball fraternity was happy just to own the name. Now, no doubt, with typical Aussie sports-driven machismo someone will want to up the ante. The basketballers will demand a mascot they can lead out in the pre-match ceremonies to unnerve the opposition. Or eat them.

The sports writers will be delighted, not because of the potential for blood and carnage, but because of the new world of clichés that will be opened up for them: ‘snappy play’, ‘into the jaws of the opposition’ or ‘the second half was a crock’.

It’s early days, but mark my words we haven’t heard the last of it. Now we’ve rewritten the guide book on crazy golf we can expect Townsvilleans to introduce a few more extreme sports to the region.

Football on a pitch strewn with taipans and death adders.

Beach volleyball… spot the hidden cone shells!

Waterskiing with sharks; bring your own burley.

Swimming competitions – outside the stinger nets.

Until then we can always go down to Townsville Golf Club and watch players trying to avoid the water hazard. A new dimension has been added to golf as a spectator sport.

A round or two will get the blood coursing through your body (possibly from your body) in all kinds of unexpected ways.

So long as you’ve got the balls for it.