A Florida man credits his golf club for saving his life during an alligator attack.
A captive alligator is pictured as it rains in Oviedo, Florida, on June 18, 2016. Reuters

A Florida man credited his handy golf putter for saving his life last week during an alligator attack in North Fort Myers, Florida. Tony Aarts was attacked by a 10-foot alligator Wednesday while enjoying a few rounds of golf at Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club.

Aarts told WINK News he was headed towards the fourth hole — about five to six feet away from a water reserve — when the gator approached and grabbed him by the ankle, causing him to fall to the ground. Aarts fell on his back, and he said the alligator began to drag him back toward the nearby water hazard. That’s when he remembered he had a golf club in his hand.

“As soon as he had me in the water up to my waist, I started hitting him in the head,” Aarts told the news station. “He was looking at me with his big eyes and I kept hitting him. And I’m thinking, 'I’m getting deeper and deeper,' and I thought, 'You’re not gonna get me.'”

Aarts said he then started hitting the gator in his eye socket, and after about three blows to the eye, the animal finally let go of his foot. Aarts crawled back to land. Aarts said he’d seen alligators plenty of times since moving to Florida some 35 years ago, but this was his first up-close encounter with the reptile.

“It’s a good thing I had that putter. It’s a good, solid, heavy, putter,” Aarts said, speaking of the Cleveland putter he used to fight off the alligator.

After Aarts was safe on dry land, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission caught the alligator and put it down, Inside Edition reported.

It’s not uncommon to spot alligators living in water reserves on golf courses in Florida. In fact, the state has about 6.7 million acres of suitable gator habitat, including 1,000 miles of coastline and several marshes and rivers. The biggest alligator population in Florida resides around the Everglades, which is about 130 miles south of North Fort Myers.