Bear On The Green

image Michael Perkins sent in this image (click the image to enlarge), asking whether or not it's real. I've never seen the image before, so I don't know where it comes from, but it looks like a fake to me. The background image of the bear in the woods seems to have been pasted onto the foreground image of the golfers. Note the unnaturally straight line where the green meets the forest directly behind the flag.

Animals Photos

Posted on Tue Jul 19, 2005


The "unnaturally straight line" is common for an edge of a green (you must not play golf) and the shadow of the bear and the shadows of the golfers are similar, so I think it's real. Just my two-cents.
Posted by Weezy  on  Tue Jul 19, 2005  at  02:33 PM
Turns out this is a experience some have had on Alaskan and Canadian courses. Google searching for 5 minutes netted me 4 stories or images about a bear on the course.
Posted by ErikPSO  on  Tue Jul 19, 2005  at  02:55 PM
Looks fake to me. The bear is in the distance, so he would be bigger if he was in the foreground... horse sized.

Also the bear looks to be in sharp focus, and doesn't match the photographic qualities of the foreground.
Posted by Lumpy  on  Tue Jul 19, 2005  at  03:28 PM
The straight line I'm talking about appears right where the green meets the forest. If you enlarge the picture you can see what I'm talking about better. It could be a compression artifact, but it seems odd that the color quality of the picture differs on either side of the line. My guess is that this line is where two different pictures were pasted together.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Jul 19, 2005  at  03:38 PM
It looks like a photo from an ad as it's so 'vivid', but it could be real as bears on golf courses is a real problem in some places.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Tue Jul 19, 2005  at  04:13 PM
Yeah, the pole looks waivy like the photoshopper had trouble putting it in, and one of the guys appears to be missing a good portion of his head.
Posted by Citizen Premier  on  Tue Jul 19, 2005  at  06:44 PM
>>Yeah, the pole looks waivy like the photoshopper >>had trouble putting it in, and one of the guys >>appears to be missing a good portion of his head.

Maybe the bear ate it? 😉
Posted by aw  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  03:40 AM
Also note how the photo was taken "conveniently" when the paw of the bear is JUST behind the straight line where the green meets the landscape...
Posted by Christopher  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  04:52 AM
I agree with lumpy the quality of the foreground is nothing like the clarity of the bear
and there is an odd line in the trees above the left golfers head and the right golfers shoulder aswell as other areas in the backround none of these continue into the foreground.
Posted by Geekmafia  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  06:38 AM
I dunno, it looks sort of real to me, if the focus of the image was on the bear, then of course the guys would be out of focus, but the bear would be clear.

That shadows look like they're at the same angle.

I tried to see the straight line Alex was talking about, all I could see was where the pretty golf grass must ascend slightly on a rolly hilly type thing (sorry, I've never been on a golf course), into the non-golf grass. It would seem the line is so straight, b/c the pretty grass has a higher edge than the grass the bear is standing on. I dunno if I just made sense...but I understand it in my head.
Posted by Maegan  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  06:40 AM
If I was going to get, I'd say it's a frame from some TV commercial.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  06:45 AM
I meant "guess."
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  06:45 AM
How come the flag doesn't have a shadow?
Posted by ktownson  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  08:13 AM
Er, uh... Good point, I never noticed. The flag definitely looks fake, but why they bothered I don't know. The rest looks much more realistic.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  08:21 AM
I'm trying to work out what the little round shadow at the front of the picture is from.
Posted by Boo  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  08:29 AM
If you look at the trees above the yellow cap, you can see that much of this was cut-and-pasted--there are many duplicated shapes and shadows. Fake, or at least photoshopped.
Posted by kvn299  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  09:34 AM
There are some definite signs of photoshopping.
Agree with the tree comment above the yellow cap. If you zoom right in, you can see a very unnaturally square pixelation going up into the trees from the shoulders of the yellow cap guy, and then around and down the other side of the bear.
There is an odd line where the green meets the woods:- Not the normal edge, and edge in the picture. Also looks like some of the fence had been photoshopped out.
The clincher for me is under the arm of the guy on the left near the bear.(In the dark shirt). A very clumsy looking cut and paste of colour.
The flag seems to have a shadow though.
Posted by Bruce  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  10:11 AM
It looks real to me... Have you ever been golfing? A bear on the course would make me run away. If anything, the golfers were photoshopped in. It's real.
Posted by booch  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  11:19 AM
Just realized, why would they all be that close to the hole with their clubs if there is only one ball?

I'm not a golfer, but it seems odd that they would all have them.
Posted by ErikPSO  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  12:34 PM
There would only ever be one ball on the green the others would normally (in a serious match) be replaced by markers and the "circular shadow" at the front of the picture is the yellow capped golfers golfclub head you can just make out the shadow line connecting it to the arm-shadow i still think it's a fake/photoshopped picture though
Posted by Geekmafia  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  02:52 PM
Oh and the straight line is not between the green's neat grass and the other grass it is between the dark messy grass and the fence.
Posted by Geekmafia  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  02:56 PM
Thanks for the shadow explanation!
I was just wondering whether anyone had checked worth1000 for similar images.
My elderly computer shuts down if I try to open the site, so I can't...
Posted by Boo  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  03:31 PM
The bear itself looks fake. Like it is a taxidermy pose or that it is computer generated. The bear appears to be looking at something to the right of the man on the left. I would think that a bear would be looking at what it was roaring at (in this case, the golfers).

Also, things about the photograph itself make me think it is a fake. The odd cropping of alone makes me suspicious. Unless this was a Polaroid, it should be rectangular. But Polaroids have "unifocus", so everything would be equally focused (except for things that are within about a meter). For this pic to be real, it would have had to have been taken with a manual focus camera because the bear is in focus in the background while the golfers are out of focus in the foreground. An autofocus camera would have focused on the the center golfer in the white and read shirt. A digital or film camera would have taken a rectangular picture. So, where is the rest of it? Why was it cropped out?

I would expect the woods and the fence close to the bear to be in better focus as well, since they are closer to the bear than the golfers. But they look blurry and out of focus like the golfers.

Nope, I'm calling this one a fake.
Posted by BugbearSloth  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  03:50 PM
The bear appears to be looking at something to the right of the man on the left. I would think that a bear would be looking at what it was roaring at (in this case, the golfers).

Maybe they'd tied up a couple of lovely juicy deer or something, just off camera...
Posted by Boo  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  03:54 PM
I think it's fake... any real golfer would have putted out before running away.
Posted by Jim  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  04:07 PM

Ahem. Ray Bradbury.
Posted by Boo  on  Wed Jul 20, 2005  at  04:11 PM
There is a faint dark line going left from the flag staff, which would be where the staff's shadow ought to be. Strangely, though, this shadow seems to start right at the hole, while the base of the staff itself looks to be stuck in the ground several inches in front of the hole. The flag and its shadow don't quite match up. So either both the flag and shadow are fakes and the person did a very clumsy job of matching them up, or else somebody stuck a fake flag in a picture that already had a flag in it, which is rather odd. And if they took the trouble to put in a fake flag, I don't see why they wouldn't have changed or added some other things in the picture.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 21, 2005  at  01:31 AM
I think it's real. There is a shadow on the flag - it appears to be going in the right direction.

Also, the picture I'm seeing is slightly either out of focus or has bad pixelation - so that would explain some of the weird shadows or trees.

Most animals I have seen (like on Discovery or something) hardly ever look at their prey straight on - they tend to have their head cocked to the side anyway. We also have no idea what is to the left the farthest golfer - there could be something there attracting his attention.

And...I dunno about why they would all have their clubs out - but if I were being confronted by a bear, I'd sure as hell want a club in my hand.
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Jul 21, 2005  at  06:51 AM
After looking at tonnes of bear pictures, I think this is supposed to be a brown bear. But it still does not look quite natural to me.

Here is a pic of a black bear on a golf course that I found. It looks much more realistic:

ErikPSO posted the article earlier. I'm not saying that the concept is impossible. I just think that this example is not real.
Posted by BugbearSloth  on  Thu Jul 21, 2005  at  02:07 PM
And if they're on the green putting, why is the flag still in the cup?
Posted by Silentz  on  Thu Jul 21, 2005  at  09:50 PM
Is the flag supposed to be in the cup in golf? Because if the flag in the picture is a real flag, then it's stuck in the ground several inches from the cup.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 21, 2005  at  10:42 PM
the flag produces no shadows .... it's a good one
Posted by matth  on  Fri Jul 22, 2005  at  07:21 AM
It's fake. You can see the bear photo was a different resolution from the golfers photo.

Plus, I can believe a bear could easily wander onto a rural golf course, but the odds are he wouldn't be roaring like that. a bear would only do that if he was provoked or attacking.
Posted by Steve  on  Fri Jul 22, 2005  at  10:24 AM
The flag is definately in front of the hole, and there is no way the shadow ligns up with it. It almost seems as though part of the shadow is going through the flag post. Plus, the flag itself looks way to fake to me. The pole itself is even strangely distorted, although there is the possibiity that it's caused by pixilation. Just like most people here, I think it's a fake.
Posted by Archibold  on  Fri Jul 22, 2005  at  11:34 AM
Steve, sorry, my picture doesn't have sound. :roll:

Geez, an animal's mouth is open, and it'a automatically roaring at someone? Ever head of yawning? Sneezing??
Posted by Maegan  on  Mon Jul 25, 2005  at  01:33 PM
Maybe he was screaming MAYGAN
Posted by booch  on  Tue Jul 26, 2005  at  05:48 PM
True story in the news this morning, and I'm not making it up... a 19-year-old boy survived by hiding in his golf cart as he was attacked by a bear while playing golf! The newsreport did not mention whether the boy's shadow was consistent with the bear's.
Posted by Vincent  on  Wed Jul 27, 2005  at  09:05 AM
As an imaging expert I can definitely say that the complaints people have with the golf flag and the cap could all be natural results from the imaging system. Clearly it was a low-res camera with the compression turned way up. The problems people note are technically referred to as "jpeg artifacts"

However, the compression level of this image on your site is not high enough to warrant such glaring artifacts, indicating that it was likely opened in photoshop and re-compressed at a higher quality level.

This was likely taken with a low resolution cell-phone camera. The resolution of 480 pixels wide is consistant with many cell phones. What's more disturbing is that most cameras do not take square photographs, indicating that it may have been cropped in photoshop. This would explain the compression difference.

I received another copy of this image in an email and the pixel size was 591x591, and the compression was at a higher level (quality was lower). But that resolution is not consistent with cell phone cameras, again indicating that the image was cropped.

As far as the content:

Most disturbing to me is that the flag is still in the cup, and 3 golfers were near the hole. By the time 3 people get close with putters, the flag would be pulled. Unless two other balls are hidden behind the three golfers, and nobody reached the flag before the bear emerged.

But overall this picture is overwhelmingly believable. All sorts of wildlife live in the woods, and all the best golf courses are built into the woods. I've seen deer, foxes, every bird imaginable, chipmunks, rabbits, turtles, alligators, frogs, snakes, fish... so why not bears? The reaction of the golfers is pretty convincing too.
Posted by Brent  on  Wed Jul 27, 2005  at  01:09 PM
it sure is a fake: look how the flag at the pole in the hole is pasted over the background...
Posted by Bavarian  on  Wed Jul 27, 2005  at  11:45 PM
Come one - the most obvious exivdence it's a fake is the CLEAR AS DAY cloning to the left of the white flag and above the cap. Here, I have circled it in case you can't see it:

(Sorry the pic is a bit small - but if you look at those areas on the original you can celarly see the repeated textures where someone has made a bad botch job of cloning the trees)
Posted by Rob  on  Fri Jul 29, 2005  at  10:18 AM
I took a look at the blow-up and saw the shadow for the flag. It's faint and just above a change in the grass color so it's hard to see. Just how good was the camera used to take this photo? A good quality digital, a film or a cameraphone? The quality of the camera and recording medium would affect the quality of the photo.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Jul 30, 2005  at  09:10 PM
Yeah that area has obviously been cloned, good catch.
Posted by Bob  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  09:18 AM is carrying this as an undetermined, but does give the source of the photo. I tried finding the photo posted somewhere other than on MoH, and had no luck.
Posted by BugbearSloth  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  03:38 PM
Snopes have confirmed it as a true pic now.
Posted by Smerk  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  08:24 PM
Just ran across this one over at, The photographer says the picture is real. (But then again, he would, wouldn't he?) 😉
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  06:46 AM
there is no shadow from the flag, but is from the bear and golfers... I would also guess tv commerical.
Posted by David  on  Fri Sep 02, 2005  at  04:57 PM
It looks real to me... Have you ever been golfing? A bear on the course would make me run away. If anything, the golfers were photoshopped in. It's real.
Posted by Golfmitgliedschaft  on  Sun Oct 12, 2008  at  02:42 AM
Fake. The flag looks to be about 15 feet tall if someone was standing next to it.
Posted by ajr  on  Thu Mar 05, 2009  at  08:25 PM
Well , I'd say it's fake , both the green lines , which are way un-naturally put together , second , you can see the flag , it's so thin in some places which happens when you try to remove the background of something and replacing it.
Posted by Jeremy  on  Thu Jan 27, 2011  at  01:46 AM
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