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Why don’t more dogs play golf?

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Last weekend, I went out to take some photos of golfers and ended up with mostly photos of a dog.

His name is Rufus, and he’s a very well-behaved six-year-old boxer.

A tournament at the golf course where I’ve started working, part-time, as a bartender seemed a good opportunity to test my new camera and try to take some photos of people (instead of dogs) for a change.

gsgt 249Then Rufus caught my eye, and wouldn’t let go. He was riding along patiently in the golf cart with his owner, staying there on command, and galloping along on the fairways when his owner gave him permission.

It made me wonder why there aren’t more dogs on golf courses. They would seem — were country clubs not such stuffy places — to go together nicely.

My bartending job is at Long Creek Golf Club — a not at all stuffy place. It’s a public course just down the road from my house in Bethania.

Last Saturday a charity tournament was being held there to raise funds for Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, in memory of parishioners Neena Mabe and Justin Mabe.

gsgt 229

I proclaimed myself official photographer for the event, commandeered a cart and started taking photos of golfers — at least until I saw Rufus.

By morning’s end, I had about 150 photos of golfers, and about 50 of Rufus. I couldn’t help myself.  Boxers, it seems to me, have among the most expressive of all dog faces — including that one that seems to say, “What, you’re not going to take me along?”

That may or may not be why the owner of Rufus, who was competing in the tournament, brought him along. Rufus had perfect manners, didn’t bark once and seemed to totally enjoy the outing. As far as I could see, he bothered nobody, and charmed dozens.

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I’m sure those who take golf ultra-seriously would probably be averse to dogs on the course. Dogs could be distracting, or slow down play. But with one as well-behaved as Rufus – or, generally speaking, Ace — I see no problem with them tagging along with their owner, on a slow day, assuming their owner is cleaning up after them.

Given golfers have to bend over at least 36 times anyway — between teeing up and getting their ball out of the cup — what’s one or two more squats to pick up a little doggie waste?

Having a dog along could even be helpful — at least for me. I generally need a search party to find where my ball landed. (Usually it can be found in the ruff.) Plus, I could blame all my bad shots on him.

I don’t play golf much because it can lead to me getting very frustrated. With a dog along, that might be less likely to happen, given dogs tend to both help us keep things in perspective and soothe us when we get ourselves frazzled.

gsgt 298I’m not sure Ace would be as good as Rufus is at riding in the cart — or whether the two of us can even fit in one — but I’m determined to give it a try. (Yes, we could walk, but to me driving the golf cart is far more fun than the actual game.)

Sometime in the next month or two, on an afternoon I’m not behind the bar, we’ll put a few bottles of water in a cooler, and perhaps a beer or two, pack up a bowl and some poop bags and hit the links. Rest assured, we’ll give you a full report.

And we’ll prove, maybe — or maybe not — that dogs and golf are made for each other, assuming the dogs can learn a few simple rules:

– Don’t pick up the golf ball, unless you’re improving my lie, or moving it closer to the pin.

– Be quiet, and courteous to other golfers.

– Stay with your group and, at least until they’ve hit the ball, behind them.

– Don’t pee or poop on the greens.

– And, of course, always tip the bartender.

(Do you golf with your dog? Know any dog-friendly golf courses? If so, please feel free to share your tips and experiences — good, bad and ugly — via a comment.)

Comments

Comment from Tina
Time September 20, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Love it! We attended a charity event at a local course around here, and I was sitting at a tee-box all day selling raffle tickets… with my trusty english mastiff puppy by my side. She had a great time meeting all the people, and only barked once (luckily we knew the golfer… and it’s a low-key tourney, so we offered to provide a mulligan for the shot).

This was her second annual tourney attendance – the first as a 6 month old puppy, the second as a 1.5yr puppy. She did well riding in the cart, too. If she can fit (all 135lbs of her), I’m sure Ace could, too! :)

Comment from kathryn
Time September 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm

That dog has dig-ni-ty. Caninefidence. Petassurance. Stature. I can’t do him justice, but it was fun trying.

Comment from amy
Time September 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm

dogs are more common on golf courses in europe, esp. the uk. st andrews in scotland allows dogs! its stupid american provincialism, uptightness, legal crap that keeps dogs off courses here. it is a great business model for someone with money though, high end golf courses that welcome dogs. [poor grammer bc of not working keys!]

Comment from kathryn
Time September 24, 2013 at 1:14 am

Rufus reminds me of James Earl Jones. Period. End of message.

Comment from smoketoomuch
Time October 10, 2013 at 9:38 am

Rufus is certainly one handsome and statuesque boxer. Nice photos John!

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