As we crested the small hill that makes the first hole semi-blind, only three balls came in to view. What?? All four of us, the leaders that made up the final group of the conference championship, had hit perfect drives. It was quickly determined that the missing golf ball was mine. The frantic search was on. As golfers know, you must find your ball within five minutes or the ball is declared lost; re-tee with a two shot penalty.
It was a perfect tee shot. Where could that golf ball be? The four leaders widened the search area, even looking for a gopher hole or plugged balls.
With time running out, a fellow player noticed a fat ugly bulldog lying in the shade on the left edge of the fairway. The bulldog with a head the size of a football was gnawing on a golf ball. As we apprehensively approached the homely canine, the bulbous bulldog white-eyed us as she continued to gnaw on a golf ball. By this time, members of the rules committee had appeared on the scene and they were discussing how to get the porky pooch to give up the ball so it could be identified.
Without a formal command the players, officials and a few coaches, who had arrived to investigate the delay, formed a circle around the, by now alarmed, bow-legged beast. With the ball held firmly in her slobbering mouth, the bulldog stood and searched for an avenue of escape. She made several fake charges at the circle of humans that grew smaller by the second. Then the bulldog bolted through the circle with a speed that surprised everyone and took off down the fairway looking back at her pursuers. Just as she felt her escape was assured, the bulldog nearly collided with a golf cart driven by the course superintendent. The startled screw-tail dodged so quickly she dropped the ball and continued her escape.
In fact the tooth-marked Titleist 3 with a smiley face was mine. I was allowed to drop a “new” ball where the bulldog ball was deemed to have come to rest. Needless to say the concentration for the important championship was never the same after a dog induced 30 minute delay.