B05: Lethal but Rather Indecisive Play

Occasionally non-military lethal incidents occur on a golf course, for example when the general public unwittingly interact with your golf game.

Public footpaths or cycleways that border or criss cross courses have the potential to disrupt play, as in the following incident.

From the first tee, a normally competent golfer duck-hooks a powerful drive, completely out of character. He watches his ball curve right to left, and low, pitching in-bounds once before careering to the left boundary of the hole, as represented by a public bridleway.

To his horror a lady, mercifully not on horseback, is progressing along the bridleway with her beloved dog, who receives the full force of the crooked drive, from a distance of about 180 yards.

The dog yelps, and displays various other symptoms of discomfort.

Naturally this pre-BriskerGolf occurrence causes the errant golfer to wonder, ‘Did that ball go out of bounds, or did it ricochet from the dog in-bounds?’

There’s no way of knowing from your golfing partners, whose convulsive laughter is drowning out the lady’s wailing.

A decision has to be made. Do you play a provisional ball, albeit in extremely bad taste, before sprinting up to the lady to apologise for the accident? Or do you waste your partners’ time by reacting humanely, and immediately run to comfort the lady, disregarding R&A guidelines on avoiding slow play?

Pre-BriskerGolf  it presents a complete quandary.

On the one hand, you know intuitively that in time that dog will stop yelping and start behaving normally, as will the lady, and it’s not as though you have any veterinary or psychological training.

On the other hand, the woman may have the wit and malice to complain to the Committee if you don’t show sufficient contrition, for what after all is just an atypical accident.

But what if you just don’t have the gravitas to pull off a sincere apology? Are you to be castigated for your inability to control your sense of humour?

You are rooted to the spot. The clock is ticking. Eventually one of your party breaks into a sprint towards the distressed lady.

This clarifies matters. You cannot now play a provisional ball, in case it brings down your lifelong friend whilst he is still in bounds!

You must belatedly join in the sprint to the tearful lady and whining dog.

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