'Gator Netting Is In Place' - Chevron Championship Venue Prepared For 'Safe' Winner's Jump

A tradition which began at the tournament's previous home could continue this year - if the champion is feeling brave enough...

Lilia Vu holds up the Chevron Championship trophy after her victory in 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Since Amy Alcott first did it in 1988, the winner of what is now known as the Chevron Championship has been jumping into 'Poppie's Pond' after holing the winning shot.

However, it seemed like that tradition would come to an end after the event opted to switch locations from Mission Hills in California to its new home of The Club at Carlton Woods, Texas in 2023.

From here, it's sort of a good news-bad news situation for the tournament champion. Yes, the convention of jumping into a body of water is still possible - hooray! But don't get too excited, as the natural pond directly adjacent to the 18th green could potentially contain snakes and alligators...

In a bid to maintain the health and safety of all participants, tournament organizers have made a handful of alterations to what could now be labelled 'Lilia's Lake' following Vu's win last year - including: extending the dock away from the potentially slippery stone edge, building a new rock wall, and - most importantly - implementing anti-gator netting in the water to stop the carnivorous reptiles sneaking somewhere they shouldn't be.

Before 2023, Carlton Woods' general manager, Stephen Salzman shared with Golf Digest that rocks and other debris were also removed from the landing area to ensure player safety.

And, crucially, Salzman claims there has only been one alligator sighting in that water over the past 10 years. Not that the club is taking any chances - hence the netting.

He also said: “All I've done is encourage them, don't dive. Cannonball. Something that doesn't lead with your head, and you'll be good.”

Golf Channel contributor, Amy Rogers confirmed the latest precautions in a social-media post on Tuesday, writing: "The general manager at The Club at Carlton Woods tells me they have everything in place for a safe jump should the [Chevron] winner decide to leap into the lake beside the 18th green. Gator netting is in place again this year."

Not that those modifications and advice have tempted Rose Zhang, mind, who suggested she would prefer to remain on dry land if she reigned supreme on Sunday.

Asked in her pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday if she would jump into the water, Zhang said: "That's a really good question. I was talking to my caddie about it. I've played ANA, played the ANA Junior Inspiration before. The pool definitely looks a little nicer than out here.

Lilia Vu celebrates her 2023 Chevron Championship victory by jumping into the water next to the 18th green at The Club at Carlton Woods

Lilia Vu celebrates her 2023 Chevron Championship victory by jumping into the water next to the 18th green

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I saw the board. And, you know, at that point, if you're a major championship, why not? Just jump in. Yeah, I don't think I would do it voluntarily."

No one else has been asked the same question so far in 2024, but Nelly Korda - who is hunting a fifth straight win on the LPGA Tour and a second Major - said ahead of Vu's win in 2023 that she would continue the tradition.

English player, Georgia Hall was unsure whether that year's champion would jump - Vu did - while American Jennifer Kupcho, the 2022 winner, did not commit to going again.

Kupcho said: "I guess we'll see what comes down to it. I'm not really sure. I think there might be snakes in the water here, so might be a little interesting.”

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.