Stepping up to tee off on a hole dubbed "Feedin' Frenzy," participants in the Second Annual Charity, Open Invitational, Orange Blossom, Westfair, Cowboy, Cow Pasture Golf Classicwill quickly realize -- if they haven't already -- why cowboy boots are the suggested footwear. Instead of a lake or sand traps, the hazards on the hole are bales of hay, and since live Brahman bulls are grazing nearby, golfers never know when another type of hazard may appear underfoot.
Besides, the rules of this wacky charity tournament dictate that players wearing white golf shoes with spikes receive a penalty stroke, while wearing traditional cowboy shit kickers (they got that name for a reason) comes in handy for "playing the lie from a wet cow pie," which is good for shaving a stroke off your score. Strokes are also added to the cards of duffers who don Izod shirts (the ones with the little alligator emblem), knickers (which are for sissies), or hats with pom-pons on top (which will probably get you beat up, to boot).
True cowboy golfers or wannabes can also decrease their scores a point each for being a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, knowing all the lyrics to "Happy Trails," hitting a spittoon from ten feet, or having a KISS Country radio station bumper sticker on their vehicles. Heck, just arriving in a pickup truck is worth a half-point deduction. Show up in a sport-utility vehicle, BMW, or Lexus, on the other hand, and tournament officials will add a stroke before you even set foot on the 13-hole course.
Odds in the tournament are clearly with real ropers, riders, and ranchers, or at least those who bother with an advance reading of the brochure, which outlines the goofy rules and the course layout. In addition to "Feedin' Frenzy" -- which, by the way, requires players to tee from atop a hay bale and shout "Hay!" after the shot -- the nicknamed holes include "Grizzly Adams" (tee off with the ball centered on a spring-loaded steel bear trap), "Ye Old Watering Hole" (cattle-trough water hazards dot the fairway), and "Boot Hill" (a cemetery setting with tombstones, skulls, and animal carcasses strewn about).
The event sounds like one of those weird, "only in South Florida" things, but it actually originated elsewhere. It seems Fred Cox, husband of Davie City Councilwoman Kathie Cox, was reading an in-flight magazine on a trip when he came across an article about a similar tournament in Wyoming.
"He brought a copy of the article to us," says Bonnie Stafiej, City of Davie special projects manager. "We're known for our cow pastures and rodeos, so it was perfect." Last year tournament entry fees and hole sponsorships from area businesses raised $15,000 for two local charities: a fund for the historic Old Davie School and the Emergency Assistance Service Effort, which is used to provide temporary financial relief to folks who fall on hard times.
Stafiej is quick to point out that, while cows and horses are used to help flavor the tournament atmosphere, no animal will get hit by a golf ball. A horse-drawn wagon takes golfers from the parking lot to the course (a bummer for one equine-allergic golfer last year, who sneezed the entire round), and bulls are penned up here and there for ambiance but out of harm's way. An exception is Bumper, a tame Brahman bull that roams around "Feedin' Frenzy" during play. He earned the name because he likes nothing more than to nudge people in a friendly way while looking for a handout. "He'll come up and bump into you, because he wants what's in your pockets," Stafiej explains. "He scares the heck out of all the city slicker-type golfers. The attorneys are all off that hole real fast."