By Chris Dealy
June 22, 2020
Years ago I traveled to South Africa to film a television commercial for a client, a large sponsor of the PGA Tour. I was a Creative Director for an advertising agency, and the commercial required us shooting a foursome playing multiple holes, on multiple courses, over multiple days. We could have filmed this commercial anywhere, but at that time the Screen Actors Guild was on strike, and most of our production had moved overseas. Awesome.
But this story isn’t about the boondoggle. It’s not about the wonderful people I met in Cape Town, or the fantastic food, or the thought I had of not returning to the States at all. Or the fact that the location scout required us to play seven rounds of golf, at seven of the greatest courses I’d ever seen.
This story is about the small, little white fence that lines every fairway in South Africa. At first I thought it was just a narrow out-of-bounds marker, but in the pro shop, I was handed a little book titled The Hazards of Playing from the Hazards.
I’ve played from my share of hazards before, but in South Africa they have more than ticks and poison ivy to deal with. They have spiders that can kill you within fifteen minutes of being bitten. There are over a dozen venomous snakes behind every bush. And then there are lions, elephants, and warthogs. So this was why the greenskeeper carried a sidearm.
Even if you can see your ball, step over the fence and you risk your life. I’d never had so much fun.