Golfers and Dog Walkers in stand-off

dog-pooSeveral dog walkers have approached St Francis Today regarding use of the golf course.

At the start of the holiday season this publication posted a letter from the St Francis Bay Golf Club banning dog walkers from the golf course. (Read http://stfrancistoday.com/dogs-are-off-the-course/.) Many believed that this ban would be lifted once the holiday makers had left and life returned to normal. Sadly it appears that this is not the case and dog walkers are indeed still not allowed to take their pooches for their early morning or late afternoon exercise on the golf course.

One can understand it from the golfers point of view for with our late evening sunsets, golf rounds are played late into the evening and some dog walkers, primarily holiday makers, choose to ignore the golfers right of way. In addition they, and here we again stress, SOME, simply do not have the decency to pick up after their dogs leaving golfers to not only navigate their way round the course in as low a score as possible but to also avoid landing in or standing in dog pooh.

There is a nucleus of walkers who have used the course for years and who are very responsible and respectful of the privilege to walk on the course, picking up, not only after their own dogs but also after those who simply don’t have the decency to follow the rules. Thus the good guys are punished by being banned.

One of the most noticeable features of St Francis, both the Bay and the Cape, is how dog mad the locals are. The phrase “every man and his dog” could be changed in St Francis to “every man has a dog”. Those living in Cape St Francis are indeed more blessed with space to walk than their Bay counterparts and thus the golf course facility has proved a godsend.The concern and love of animals is quite overwhelming in the entire region for animal charities, SPCA, April Olive Blossom Fund and the Open your Eyes – Sterilize campaign are all enthuisatically supported.

So surely there is a solution to this standoff? As you read this, scores of dog owners will be descending on the St Francis Links for the January “Mutt Strut” and “no turd will be left (unturned)” as all walkers are required to carry pooh bags and all who participate appreciate the privilege afforded by The Links in allowing this fund raiser to use their facility.

Possibly a meeting could be arranged with the Golf Club management and the nucleus of dog walkers and only those who say, carry a permit to use the course, may use the facility and must pledge to police those who refuse to obey the rules. Possibly these walkers must provide signage and supply “pooh bag” points where walkers can replenish their pooh bags if the have forgotten to bring. Maybe they could also provide a disposal bin which must be disposed  of by them. Maybe also limit the use of the course to a small section, say the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th making the 15th where there are a pair of plovers resident and the rest of the course a no go area. And if there are dogs that do chase the birds, keep these on a leash.

There has to be a way of resolving this stand-off for we all need to work together in peace and harmony in our human and dog friendly little village.

On a lighter note – penalty for plaing a ball in motion – one stroke