Golfer Phil Thompson is more accustomed to the odd birdie or eagle when he plays 18 holes, so you can imagine his surprise when he saw a snake slithering across the green.
The 48-year-old mechanical supervisor was enjoying a Saturday morning round with three friends at Southern Valley Golf Course in Gravesend when the grass snake interrupted their game.
The unexpected, but harmless, guest, which has since been identified as a adult female, ignored all golfing etiquette to zig-zag across the 14th hole before disappearing into nearby bushes.
But the sight – believed to be a first at the club in Thong Lane – has become the talk of the 19th hole.
Mr Thompson, who lives in Whinfell Way, Riverview Park, said: “I didn’t get a tape measure out and stayed about a car length’s away but it was massive – about 4ft long.
“We had played the fifth hole and one of the guys went into the bunker and there was a slither mark all the way through the sand.
“It had made a pattern but I just thought it was kids messing about.
“However, when we got to the 14th we saw it making its way across the course.
“It came towards us at first before going in the direction of some nearby bushes.
“It obviously didn’t affect my game. In fact, it probably hurried us up!" - Phil Thompson
“It was just slithering along but quite fast and quicker than we could walk. I’ve never seen a snake on there before so it was a shock.” Mr Thompson completed his round with a successful two under par score of 67.
He said: “It obviously didn’t affect my game. In fact, it probably hurried us up!”
Club manager Paul Thornberry said it was the first time a snake had been reported on the course, which is set within 138 acres, since it opened in 1998.
The course as a public footpath which is used by walkers and dog owners. Mr Thornberry said groundsmen had carried out their usual daily checks but the reptile has not been seen since.
He said: “Some people thought it was an adder, others have said it is just a grass snake and others have said it might bite, but it’s not dangerous.
“There has been lots of jokes about it.
“We have had human snakes around here before but not the animal kind!”
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