Although golf courses are often the picture of serenity and bliss, they can also be home to some potentially dangerous wildlife. From venomous snakes to fire ants and even the occasional coyote, it’s important that golf course maintenance crews take the necessary steps to keep themselves safe and protected.


Todd Dattalo, who serves as the Golf Course Superintendent for the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas, and the regional golf course superintendent for Arcus Golf, possesses significant knowledge in golf course wildlife safety. He shared his expertise (and how he uses Golf Safety’s videos to keep his crew safe) with us.


Dattalo advises that the top priority in encountering wildlife on a golf course is to avoid panicking. “Don’t panic,” says Dattalo, “that’s always the best bet if you ask me.” It’s crucial to stay calm and remove yourself from danger as soon as possible when encountering threats like snakes on the golf course.


Todd Dattalo, Golf Course Superintendent of Cowboys Golf Club and Golf Safety Member.


Stay calm, but stay alert and aware of your surroundings when working outdoors. Keep weather conditions in mind. “We’re not going to run into many snakes until the weather is a little bit warmer,” says Dattalo, for example, “We tend to do a lot of the brushwork when it’s cooler out, and [the snakes] are not as active.”


To create a safe work environment, clear communication is key. Dattalo holds daily safety meetings where they discuss potential dangers on the golf course.  This prepares workers for encounters and ensures they know how to respond if something dangerous arises.


At the Cowboy’s Golf Club, Dattalo makes sure his crew is protected from wildlife risks with safety gear like long-sleeved shirts, insect repellant spray, tech snake boots with guards and gloves. “Anything that can cover your legs and your arms,” says Dattalo, is particularly important.


Your crew must always know what to do in an emergency, especially when time is of the essence. Dattalo ensures all workers understand protocol from day one and emphasizes the need for them to contact him immediately in the case of an emergency. “New employees are required to know the protocol, so we make it pretty clear to them this is what we need to do,” says Dattalo.


According to Datallo, keeping his crew safe is made much easier with Golf Safety’s training videos, telling us that they have been an “awesome” resource in keeping his crew safe. He particularly appreciates the time-saving benefit of having access to expert advice at his fingertips. “That’s always been the best part of the program,” Dattalo says.

The beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere of the golf course can create a sense of calm that may be deceiving. Make sure your crew knows how to protect themselves from the potential wildlife hazards that come with working in this outdoor setting by following these safety tips. To read Dattalo’s full insights and learn more about wildlife safety on the golf course, take a look at our in-depth article on the GCSAA site.