Mr. Squirrel meet Mr. Hawk

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On an unseasonably mild August afternoon this week, I joined three other guys at the Rocky River Golf Course in Concord, NC. I hadn’t played golf in a while and I had a few responsibilities at home to tend to, but the weather was just too perfect. So, I joined them for nine holes. I’m glad I did because the most amazing thing happened at the end.

If you’ve never been there, the Rocky River Golf Course is a beautiful course in the home of the UNC Charlotte golf team. The driving range and first two holes sit in the shadow of the huge Z-Max Dragway. After that, the course meanders through a forested area.

I didn’t play particularly well, nor did I expect I would. I had a few shots that were great. Those are what keeps you coming back to play golf even if you suck. It’s an expensive game to play, but those one or two shots where you to come close to the hole or hit a long drive right down the middle of the fairway make it worthwhile. But for the most part, I struggled.

So, we make it to the 9th hole. My second shot lands on the fringe of the green. It is a large green that is shaped somewhat like an amphitheatre. A bank surrounds it on three sides. There is a row of neatly manicured bushes in the area to my right and one lonely elm tree directly across from my ball.

I had a sand wedge in my hand and went through my pre-shot routine, trying to figure out where I wanted to lend the ball on a green that sloped away from me down to the hole. When I decided on the shot, I lined up, and just before I looked down at the ball, I saw something zoom from my left to my right. It wasn’t a golfball. It was something big. It crashed into the elm, stuck for a second and fell. The light brown whatever-it-was hit the ground and rolled down the hill a few feet before popping up.

It was a hawk!

All four of us instantly stopped whatever motion we were in. One of the guys standing closer to the hawk yelled that it had a squirrel.

I hurried across the green, careful not to damage it. By the time I got across, all of us had whipped our phones out to take a picture. The squirrel twitched occasionally in the hawk’s clutches.

The hawk watched us, well, like a hawk protecting it’s prey.

We eventually got our wits about us well enough to finish the hole. We rode away all in agreement that that was the coolest thing we’d ever seen on a golf course and one of the coolest things we’d ever seen, period. A true scene from National Geographic.


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