The Palma Real layout in Ixtapa is home to numerous resident crocodiles, several of which will venture out onto the edges of the fairway. Last year, during the Tours first visit to Ixtapa, one of the larger reptiles laid her eggs in a sand bunker behind the seventh hole and guarded her nest around the clock. Course workers erected a bamboo fence around the area at the time so the expectant mother would not be disturbed while allowing Tour players to breathe a little easier at the same time. It is an obvious favourite nesting area for the crocs- this week, another female has decided to lay her eggs in the same bunker just as the Canadian Tour rolls into town.
However, there seems to be a territorial battle looming, as a brave iguana has taken out the eggs and put her own in its place. There is no word yet on who has the upper hand in this David vs. Goliath standoff.
An adventurous young course worker named Enrique assures us that the toothy reptiles will not bother players as they walk the 6875-yard track and to prove his point, he often dives into the croc-infested waters to retrieve lost golf balls. He slaps the water surface with a nine-foot pole to distract the crocs, and scoops up the lost balls.
You have to be very careful, they will not bother anyone unless you are threatening the nest, said Patricia Garcia Cano, manager of Palma Real. It is very simple- she is defending her eggs and her breed, and it will never be a problem unless people are trespassing in that area.
Mexican environment officials often travel from Acapulco to take a count of the crocodile population at Palma Real, with the current estimation being 60-plus.
One of the older females, who has been named Dominga, is 28-years-old and is 15-feet long. The largest male in recent years, named Tarzan, was 18-feet long and tipped the scales at over 900-pounds. When Tarzan died eight years ago, a three-ton truck was not large enough to hold his body.
Suffice to say if Dominga or any of her friends stroll onto the fairways this week, players will be asking for more ball drops than usual.