Taking Cue From ‘Caddyshack,’ Trump National Golf Club Shoots Gophers

Taking Cue From ‘Caddyshack,’ Trump National Golf Club Shoots Gophers

Apparently inspired by the movie “Caddyshack,” the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., is dealing with gophers, squirrels and other critters in an unusual, cruel and illegal way: by shooting them.

In “Caddyshack,” groundskeeper Carl Spackler, played by Bill Murray, tries unsuccessfully to kill a destructive gopher using several cartoonishly violent methods, such as by shooting it with a rifle and blowing it up.

It’s not Carl Spackler, but in several disturbing photos published in the Daily Breeze, a man can be seen taking aim with what appears to be a rifle as he’s being driven around the 18-hole Trump National Golf Club in a golf cart.

Taking Cue From ‘Caddyshack,’ Trump National Golf Club Shoots Gophers
Photo credit: Ste Elmore

In the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, it is illegal to discharge weapons, with the exception of shotguns, which can only be fired to protect agricultural crops, and only with a city permit. The Trump National Golf Club did not apply for a permit, the Daily Breeze reports.

Nor did anyone at Trump National bother to notify local law enforcement agencies that a weapon would be fired on the course. Lomita sheriff’s Lt. Alise Norman told the Daily Breeze that if a weapon is intended to be used, course executives should let law enforcement know about it to avoid confusion or a police response.

The incident is now under investigation by the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. City Manager Doug Willmore told the Washington Post the man in the golf cart was a contractor using a pellet gun. The shooter could be charged with a misdemeanor for violating the city ordinance, and face a maximum $500 fine or six months in jail.

So far there have been no comments about the photos from Trump National or its owner, Donald Trump – whose presidency, the Humane Society of the United States warned last year, would be “a threat to animals everywhere.” This seems to include critters on his golf courses.


How do other local golf courses deal with gophers? Firearms are never used on the 20 Los Angeles County golf courses, and the county parks and recreation staff never uses guns, spokesman Terry Kankari told the Daily Breeze. The manager for a privately owned golf course near Inglewood, about 25 miles north of Trump National, said it uses more conventional methods, like traps and poison, to control gophers and other animals.

Yet Trump National isn’t the first golf course to deal with animals so violently. Six years ago, two men were arrested after they shot raccoons and skunks on a Wisconsin course. In 2014, a group of hunters were legally permitted to shoot and kill Canada geese on a Minnesota golf course.

Some people have jokingly suggested a better way for Trump National to deal with its gopher problem: Put up a wall.


This was the second time in two weeks that the Trump National Golf Club has been in the news, or as its owner would probably call it, the fake news. In a July 18 article, the Washington Post reported that revenues from greens fees have dropped 13 percent since June 2015, when Trump entered the presidential race. Charities have relocated fundraising golf tournaments to other courses, and Hollywood no longer uses it as a filming location.

“It’s just dead all the time,” the lone golfer there one afternoon told the Washington Post.

In fact, that’s why Daily Breeze photographer Chuck Bennett was there in the first place.

“I live on the coast so I figured I’d see if I could get the barren, empty course on my drive home,” he told the Washington Post. “The place is deserted.”


The Trump National Golf Club needs to find a more humane way to deal with gophers and other critters. Please sign this petition telling the club to stop shooting them.

This article was first published by Care2.com on 08 Aug 2017.


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