More Warning Signs Added After Golfer Dies From Snakebite

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After a 70-year-old golfer died from a rattlesnake bite at a Spearfish golf course, the management at the course say they are taking steps to insure the future safety of the players who frequent the course.

On Monday, 70-year-old Lawrence Walters, from Geneseo, Illinois was looking for his golf ball in the tall grass near one of northern holes on the course when he was bitten by a rattlesnake.  The staff at the golf course took steps to try to save his life, but Walters was pronounced dead at Spearfish hospital a short time later.  

A coroner’s report said the snakebite caused a heart abnormality in the elderly man, which led to his death.

Manager Mike Mendelson, who runs the Elkhorn Ridge Golf Course, said he and his staff are doing everything possible to prevent another incident  

There have been signs posted, warning about snakes, since the golf course was first built. But now, more signs are being added.

“More signs, new signs, and doing some different things as well.  We’re going to start playing our native area as a lateral hazard so that people can drop up where the point of entry into the native is so they don’t have to go looking for their ball and they can keep playing,” said Mendelson. 

Mendelson says Black Hills residents are well-aware of the possible presence of rattlesnakes around rocks and in tall grass, but visitors from outside the area may be unaware of the danger, and may not take warning signs seriously.

“And the course is well-marked for snakes. It’s one of those things where people just think it’s not one of those things that’s not going to happen to you but, obviously, there’s snakes and there’s danger,” said Mendelson. 

Mendelson says the death of Walter was a rare and tragic circumstance.

The rattlesnakes that are typically seen in the foothills of the Black Hills are prairie rattlers. They are not particularly large. They are smaller than a bull snake. But, as we’ve seen this week, they can be deadly.









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