Golfers have a lot to worry about on the course. There's the rough, sand traps, and water hazards when out on the course.
And in Thunder Bay, Ont., there's also the foxes to worry about too.
While wildlife isn't exactly a rare sight at Thunder Bay's Chapples and Strathcona courses, the foxes are having some extra fun this year by stealing golf balls and running off with them.
One golfer who's experienced the antics first-hand is 10-year-old James Nixon.
"I watched him walk away with my ball in his mouth," Nixon said, speaking of a recent encounter at Chapples. "He wasn't where I was shooting, he was right beside the forest."
It wasn't Nixon's first encounter with a fox on the links. In fact, it was his second time having a ball swiped this year, plus there was an encounter last season too.
Thunder Bay golfer James Nixon, 10, has had three golf balls stolen by foxes over the past two golf seasons. (Mary-Jean Cormier/CBC)
But there's some good news here, said city golf supervisor Pat Berezowski: there's no penalty stroke for golfers when a fox steals their ball.
"I think it's more of a an understanding that you would drop the ball as close to where it was left," he said. "I don't think it's a lost ball."
That's good news for the city's golfers, as Nixon isn't the only one encountering the thieving foxes.
"I did experience it once here on number four at Chapples, where I was with a group," Berezowski said. "They hit a tee shot up to the green and sure enough, one of the the younger kits in the family came out and and was playing with the golf ball when it landed, and then and then he took it."
"We were kind of surprised by it," he said. "I think the golfers are more wondering what the rules are to get around that. But yeah, it's pretty neat when you see it, but not so much fun when they take your ball."
Berezowski said another, similar situation was posted on social media a couple of years back.
Thunder Bay golf supervisor Pat Berezowski said he saw a fox steal a ball while golfing at Chapples. (Mary-Jean Cormier/CBC)
"A gentleman was putting on the sixth hole at Strathcona and there was actually a a fox sitting at the backside of the hole waiting for him to drop the putt in the cup," he said. "Once he did that, the fox took the ball out of the cup, and took off with the ball."
"They're very confident animals."
Nixon said in his case, the incident led to plenty of laughter among him and his golfing buddies.
"I think he has a collection, or eats them," Nixon said.