Deer on golf course

Five deer gather near the first tee and cart path at the Algonkian Region Park golf course late one recent afternoon. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

There was a late-afternoon fivesome that wandered up to the first tee area at the wooded Algonkian Regional Park golf course in Sterling on Oct. 5, looking to play a round.

The group didn’t have an official tee time, but that didn’t matter to this particular fivesome of deer. They stood and grazed for a while in the tee area, moving around slowly and picking at the fairway grass near the cart path. A couple of their friends arrived to join what then became a sevensome.

There were no human golfers in close proximity (50 feet or so), but then deer at the Algonkian course are pretty much on speaking terms with humans. The two groups basically co-exist over the 18 holes, and have for years. Those many human-made noises at Algonkian don’t really scare off the deer. They have grown quite accustomed to all of that clatter.

That was the case this particular afternoon as final-round play of the 6D North Region high-school golf tournament was concluding and darkness was settling over the layout.

Eventually, the fivesome headed off down the fairway, a couple venturing off alone into the woods. [Maybe they were searching for golf balls.]

Deer have been incredibly abundant at the park for decades. Certainly be careful driving into and out of the place, or riding in a golf cart on the course, for that matter. The animals are everywhere. They are on putting greens, fairways and gather in large clusters on the driving range. They routinely cross fairways, sometimes standing near human golfers when they hit shots.

As many as a dozen deer crossed the road in one pack later that evening as darkness had fallen, right in front of a car, forcing it to stop and wait. Again, that’s a common occurrence at Algonkian. Foursomes, fivesomes, eightsomes, probably even thirtysomethings gather to play a round.

They far outnumber the golfers.

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