As Tony Aarts walked toward the green on the fourth hole at Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club—with putter in hand—all he could think about was making a 10-foot birdie putt.
But those thoughts on the North Fort Myers, Florida, golf course Wednesday were abruptly interrupted by an attacking alligator.
"As I was walking about 5- to 6-feet away from the water I heard a splash, and as soon as I seen that splash I knew it was an alligator," Aarts told WINK News. "I jumped, but he had me."
The alligator grabbed his right ankle and started dragging him toward the water. Aarts fell on his back and rolled into the water hazard as he struggled to escape.
"I remember having a club in my hand, and as soon as he had me in the water up to my waist, I started hitting him over the head," Aarts said.
"He was looking at me with his big eyes, and I kept hitting him. And I'm thinking I'm getting deeper and deeper, and I thought, 'You're not gonna get me.'"
So Aarts changed his technique and began poking him in the eye socket over and over.
"I hit him three times and he let go of my foot," Aarts said. "So I crawled back out and by that time the guys were there."
An ambulance took Aarts to the hospital for treatment while the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took care of the alligator. Wildlife officials caught the offending gator and put it down.
"It's a good thing I had that putter," Aarts told WINK News. "I guess a golfer should always keep a club in his hand."
Especially when there are alligators present.