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Korby's Connections: Squirrel brings absurd touch to golf outing


July 3, 2020

It was a beautiful June day at the Cloquet Country Club with very little breeze, and temps in the mid-70s. My son Ryan and I were just about to embark on the back nine course challenge, standing on the tee at No. 10. We had a twosome in front of us riding in carts at just about an identical pace as us walking. They seemed to be enjoying themselves and not traumatized in any manner from teeing off on 10.

Ryan hit first and cranked a picturesque draw down the middle of the fairway about 275 yards. I had beat him on the front nine, so he was out to overtake me on the back. I took a couple of easy practice swings and was hoping for a straight poke down the middle. I was deep in concentration and in my backswing when I heard a thumping noise. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Ryan wheeling backwards toward me. I gave kind of a funny, withdrawing swing, not my regular swing, and the ball went toward the left rough.

“Get it away from me,” Ryan shouted. I briefly tried to figure what “it” could be. A snake, a bee, a hornet, a partridge? Then I saw the devious culprit causing the terror in my son’s voice. It was a squirrel.

I immediately went to his aid.

With those big squirrel eyes looking at me, I decided to take on the challenge. Over the years, I’ve had a few issues with these varmints. None had such playful but weird intentions. Usually they can be swooshed away without much disruption.

Nudging the squirrel gently with my driver, I tried to push him toward the woods. The rodent decided to show his athletic ability and started climbing up and around my driver as if it were pole dancing. I looked in the woods to see if there was a Candid Camera film crew taping this crazy encounter.

Ryan was laughing now and the show also caught the attention of Kathy Sheff, who was working in the No. 10 tee turn shack. It was bizarre.

I figured if I walked toward my golf bag and push cart, the squirrel would stop thinking it was a tryout for Topo Gigio on the Ed Sullivan Show and run away. But it kept in hot pursuit. After about 30 yards of following, its mission accomplished, the squirrel stopped, stood on its back haunches, saluted us, and ran into the woods. All of us were unharmed, including the mad squirrel.

Out of curiosity, after my golf round, I decided to check the internet for bizarre squirrel behavior. There are a lot of them, some with crazy videos. Squirrels upside down on decks and bird feeders, running frantically around outdoor and indoor sports facilities and, yes, even water skiing. Happily, the number of human deaths caused by these furry mammals is quite low. Folklore has the tufted ground squirrel of Borneo attacking and killing small deer, but not in Cloquet.

There are multiple accounts of squirrels not leaving people alone and police being called for help.

Like we learned in middle school science class, some experts feel that it could just be that younger squirrels, when separated from their mother and father, could become fixated on a person as a substitute parent. It makes sense. There’s no moral to this story, but If you come across out-of-the-ordinary squirrel or other animal behavior, please video or take photos, and contact or share with the Pine Knot News.

Steve Korby’s interest in writing goes back to when he was in fourth grade and editor of the Scan-Satellite school newspaper in Scanlon. Pass along a story to him at [email protected]


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