Birdie's revenge on golfers

MOST golfers dream of hitting a birdie. In their wildest moments they imagine hitting an eagle - going two under par on a hole.And once in a blue moon they might even consider the possibility of hitting an albatross .

MOST golfers dream of hitting a birdie. In their wildest moments they imagine hitting an eagle - going two under par on a hole.

And once in a blue moon they might even consider the possibility of hitting an albatross . . . an almost mythical golf shot that sees the ball go into the hole three under par.

But the one bird no golfers want to think about - especially if they're playing at Felixstowe Ferry - is the dreaded crow!

Crows are few people's favourite birds - they're related to magpies, jackdaws, and jays which all have the reputation of being light-fingered, or at least light-beaked.


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And one particular member of the species made himself very unpopular by swooping down and stealing the ball during their game.

Gina Cooper and Nigel Pusey were playing on the nine-hole Kingsfleet course at Felixstowe Ferry when the bird took the ball as they played the second hole.

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The crafty crow flew away over the sea wall in the direction of the 18-hole course as the golfers worked out how to play the rest of the course.

Their reaction wasn't to cry out “Stone the Crows” but the pair was left scratching their heads.

“I was very surprised and wondered what the arrangements were for replacing balls,” said Mr Pusey, 67, from Sproughton.

But they discovered that rule 18 allows for the ball to be replaced if it has been moved by an outside agency.

Mrs Cooper, 61, from Felixstowe, said: “It is a pretty rare thing to happen. I have been playing for 12 years but have never seen a ball picked up by a bird which then flew off.

“Nobody at the club had heard of anyone losing a ball to a bird. But we just put down another ball and carried on with our game.”

Wildlife is a well-known hazard for golfers - Evening Star deputy editor Mike Pennock is a keen golfer and once had a ball taken by an over-zealous fox.

“It was on the seventh fairway at Ipswich (Purdis Heath) and as soon as I hit the ball I saw this fox pick it up, run across the fairway and take it into the wood on the other side.

“It then brought the ball back to the opposite side of the fairway - but it was unplayable. Foxes have sharp teeth and it had completely shreded the ball. I had to invoke rule 18,” he said.

NIGEL Pusey and Gina Cooper stuck to the rigid rules of golf but many other players have got into trouble for not sticking to the letter of the law.

Irish golfer Padraig Harrington missed out on a winner's prize of £166,000 when playing at the Benson and Hedges Open at the Belfry in 2001.

He fell foul of the rulebook after he failed to sign for a score going into the final round of a tournament that he led by five shots.

Harrington's mistake was only discovered when course officials wanted to frame his record scorecard for the clubhouse.

And spare a thought for the hapless Philip Parkin, who was disqualified from the Italian Open in 1992.

He admitted to course officials that he had played a round with an extra club left at the bottom of his bag - even though it was only his son's toy putter.

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