In HearSway, swaywiththis

Talamore Golf Resort got an early Christmas present with the arrival of a 35-pound, extremely hairy infant. Jones – named just today after golf course architect Rees Jones – was born to llama mama Camellia on Dec. 20, bringing the course’s herd to an even four. 

Hold up. Yes, we are in fact talking about llamas on a golf course. 

See, Talamore opened its doors in 1991 with the unique staffing arrangement of llamas as caddies. Strapping thousands of dollars of equipment to a pack animal was a move that earned the course a ton of press. But as it turns out, llamas are more high-maintenance than a golf cart and offer none of a caddy’s sage advice. 

“You have to train them, you have to have someone to walk the llama along. So it wasn’t that easy-peasy,” says Nikki Conforti, a Talamore salesperson and the herd’s unofficial press manager. “You can’t just put a harness on them and send them out on the course.” 

So the animals became llamas of leisure, spending their days in a pasture near holes No. 13 and 14 and helping Talamore’s staff add “llama herder” to their resumes. In November, the herd thinned to one when an elder named Bandit died, leaving 8-year-old Tally all alone.

Arnie with little brother Jones (baby photo courtesy of Talamore)

“Llamas are pack animals, so they have to live together or they don’t even want to eat,” Nikki says, and so the crew brought in a pregnant Camellia and her son, Arnie, from On the Fritz Farm in Greensboro. Now, the llamas are once again doing their job — earning press and visits from influencers from all over the place. Yes, we really are that predictable. 

Photo contributed via Facebook
  • See more: Waste your lunch hour by tuning into Talamore’s live llama cam on WRAL, placed there in partnership with the CVB. You might even catch some of the course’s maintenance team trying to wrangle Jones into his tiny jacket. As Nikki says, it’s “hysterical.” 
  • And even more: Find original photos of the llamas at work here.

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