ROTONDA, Florida -- Golfers know when they hit one in the water, it's gone.
“Hit ball in the water, don’t go after that … (you're) not supposed to hit balls in the water,” says Jim Healy, golfer.
But golfers do send them into ponds, and contracted divers scoop them out.
Scott Lahodik has been diving for golf balls for 30 years, but Friday, a gator attacked him in the lake off the sixth hole at a Charlotte County golf course.
He was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital and underwent surgery, according to Florida wildlife officials.
Lahodik is in the ICU on Saturday morning with a risk of infection. He needs more surgeries, according to his wife.
The gator bit Lahodik “just above the elbow (and) tore down quite a bit,” says David Kelly, general manager of The Rotonda Golf and Country Club, The Palms Course.
Charlotte County EMS says the diver fought for his life against the 10-foot gator, freed his arm from its mouth, drove himself to the clubhouse and called 911.
“He couldn’t say much (because) he was in pain," Kelly says. "It’s very serious. The alligator had a good hold of him pretty good."
The gator's life in the large lake is over. State wildlife officials called a trapper.
“If its aggressive the alligator that’s the one he gets,” says Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Lt. Michael Frantz, FWC.
He said the gator a nuisance and had to be euthanized. The reptile was sedated and pulled from the lake.
Healy says golf balls are not worth getting bit or killed by a gator.
“He shouldn’t be in the water -- that’s for the gators.”