Sunday, June 8, 2008

Johnny the Fox

East Clare is about as peaceful a golf club as I have encountered. At the end of a long, narrow and winding road you feel miles from anywhere. And there are very few houses on the surrounding hillsides. Much more like the rural Ireland that everyone envisions, but seems so rare nowadays. True, there’s a timeshare village beside the clubhouse, but it is not on view from the course.

It’s a strong, rural course that has good claims to fame. There is a lot of water to deal with, and that only means one thing… ducks. They believe in keeping an orderly line, evidently.

Mike in the pro shop told me one of those great little tales that almost seems unbelievable. A fox had been fed by members over the years and had worked out how to get grub out of golf bags. He would regularly unzip the bag and steal mars bars and bananas. On one occasion there were no mars bars or bananas so he stole the next best thing: a wallet. A wallet containing £4,000 sterling. It belonged to the organiser of a group of English guys, and he was in charge of the money. The fox ran off; the guys followed, disappearing into the wild stuff. But to no avail, the fox was gone. The guys played on and when they were coming down the 18th, which runs parallel to 11 where the wallet was stolen, they ventured into the rough again and finally discovered the wallet. Believe it, or not!

[The par three 17th]

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