Golf dog has retrieving down to a tee

POOR old Hobbs the Labrador is currently going through something of an identity crisis.

POOR old Hobbs the Labrador is currently going through something of an identity crisis.

For the clever canine, who lives with his owner Paul Murphy in Earl Soham, near Framlingham, thinks he is a Retriever - of golf balls that is.

The seven-year-old pooch likes nothing better than bounding off after an errant tee shot and disappearing into the gorse and bushes.

After a few moments of frantic searching he will return to his master's side and drop the golf ball at his feet.

Dr Murphy, a GP at the doctor's surgery in Saxmundham, discovered his pet's uncanny ability while out playing with his 15-year-old son Jack.

He said: “We first took Hobbs along for a walk when we played on the nine hole course at Aldeburgh.

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“Very soon he got used to coming round with Jack and I and after a few angry moments he got quite skilled at picking up my own golf balls - but never anyone else's.

“He's very good now. He won't touch a ball on the fairway or in the rough - he'll only go and get the ball if I hit it into a bush or some gorse, so he's very handy. I would say nine times out of ten he comes back with it.”

Dr Murphy, 47, who plays off a handicap of 26, said Hobbs has even managed to learn a little bit of golfing etiquette while prowling the fairways of Woodbridge and Rushmere.

“When you tee off he sits down behind you and watches,” Dr Murphy said. “When you're on the green he will lie down at the edge and watch you putt. He still likes chasing the odd rabbit or squirrel but he is very well behaved.

“Most golfers I speak to are fine with it but obviously I understand that some people don't like dogs coming round with you - and I have to respect that.

“When I play at Woodbridge I keep him on a lead. I wouldn't take him if I was in a competition but for friendlies or when I'm playing with Jack its great - Hobbs adores it.”