This was one reason, Bornhoft said, he wanted to play golf on this course.
But views of green tree tops and blue sparkling water weren’t the only thing the golfers would experience. They were met by dozens of elk roaming freely around the course.
“The golfing went pretty good throughout the day until we got to the back nine and saw all the elk,” Bornhoft told CNN in a phone interview from the hospital.
He said they tried to steer clear of the animals and keep their distance. Bornhoft and one of his friends were in a golf cart between the 16th and 17th hole when a bull elk charged at them.
“This bull elk was just eyeing us down,” Bornhoft said. “We were slowly going forward and he started charging at us and he missed. My buddy gassed it to get away and the elk gored me on my right side.”
The elk’s antler punctured Bornhoft in the back side of his right hip, going in deep enough to slice his left kidney into two pieces. He was rushed to a local hospital where he continues to recover.
“It was unbelievable,” he told CNN. “(The elk) was just freaked out and there was nothing we could do.”
During the fall, elk can be more aggressive and territorial since it is mating season, also known as rut, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
While it isn’t unusual this time of year for hundreds of elk to roam around the course, it is the first time in at least 15 years that a golfer has been gored, according to Cyndi Karvaski, a spokeswoman for Denver Parks and Recreation.
“They are just all over the course but people can play through,” Karvaski told CNN. “There is signage posted around the course to warn golfers to stay away from the elk.”
Road to recovery
Bornhoft seemed to be in good spirits as he talked to CNN from the hospital on Tuesday and he said he is making steps in the recovery process. His wife, Megan, has been able to visit him and be by his side.
Bornhoft broke down in tears as he talked about his seven children and how he knows this is hard for them to see their dad in pain. But he said they have been able to keep in touch through video chats.
“All in all, it was a wild experience,” he said. “I would’ve never thought going to a golf course I’d be jabbed by an elk.”