Monday is a risky day for golf at the Royal County Down (PBUI) as any hint of frost or a drop of rain too much the greenkeeper in chief is inclined to close the course so as to enjoy a long lie in under the guise of protecting the links which needs to be in top class condition for the Walker Cup. 'Oh Really. Soon?' 'Yer. 2007'. Can't be too careful.
Anyhow today apart from a strong wind but not life threatening even in Glasgow the conditions were ok. No lady golfers in sight and the green keepers were apparently still abed perhaps in the expectation that the head poncho was going to close the course-he may himself have overslept and missed his moment.
The only remaining problem was the ball searcher and his highly trained Alsatian. Monday after a hacker strewn weekend is his best day for easy finds and does not have to penetrate too far into the rain forest to meet his quota. As I was the only golfer out he stalked me out of force of habit trying to anticipate the line of my next shot and hoping the dog can spot the lie of my ball before I do. There is not actually a nasty rush to get to the ball first-that could be categorised as criminal assault-but he is hopeful that when I have given up searching for one of my wilder shots and move on the dog is there in a flash and another nearly new Titleist in his wee bag. With a strong right to left wind on the holes 'coming home' the dog hugged the left hand rough and with that skill and anticipation which is the mark of an ex-police cur he successfully plotted the flight of a fairly wild hook at the 15th. The ensuing squeal was music to my ears and the thieving beast took off ballless(as it were) looking for safer employment with the owner in hot pursuit. Half an hour later I saw ball searcher still looking for his dog which was presumably sheltering down a convenient rabbit hole (most of the bunnies have been gassed).
I didn't find my ball either, it must have bounced off the Dog's skull, but it was a small price to pay for peace of mind and a hassle free finish.