SYDNEY - Golfers are facing an unusual feature on a links in tropical northern Australia - crocodiles that live in the course's lakes.
Two or three crocodiles of just over a metre (three feet) in length have recently been spotted at the Half Moon Bay Golf Course near Queensland state's coastal city of Cairns and are believed to have made the place their home.
"Ever since the course was formed in 1969 we've had crocs around the area," manager Greg Ferry told AFP Friday. "Crocodiles in far north Queensland are just a way of life."
Ferry said while a "nasty" crocodile measuring about 2.6 metres long was removed a couple of years ago, the present reptilian guests were more of a novelty than a threat.
"They are more scared of us than we are of them at the moment," he said, adding that he had got to within about 30 metres (yards) of one before it darted back into the water.
"There's a few jokes around about whether it's another hazard or whether you've got to take a penalty drop."
Nonetheless, there are signs up alerting people that crocodiles have recently been sighted on the course, which is on the banks of the Half Moon river.
Ferry said the current crocodiles may be moved if they remain on the course once they have reached a more dangerous size. For now, golfers are simply warned to stay out of the water.
Crocodiles are a common feature of Australia's tropical north, with the saltwater population estimated at over 150,000.
Crocodile attacks are responsible for about two deaths each year on average in Australia.