On Saturday afternoon I was warming up beside the first tee when a lovely smokey grey cat with a white belly sidled up to me.  Dungannon golfers will probably recognise this description, as this feline has been around the club for the past six months or so.  Nothing new there then, however, when one of my playing partners stepped onto the tee, the cat climbed up and made itself comfortable as it nestled into the top of her golf bag!

I know that you’re only allowed 14 clubs in your bag, but what about cats?  Do they count?

Here he/she is earlier in the year, stretching out in the sun on the putting green.

That got me thinking about animals on the course.  I’ve come across a few.  I usually catch a glimpse of a fox when I’m playing County Armagh, in fact the last time I played there Foxy Loxy obviously remembered me and had worked out that the safest place to be was slap bang in the middle of the fairway – he knew he had no chance of getting hit by my ball if he stood there!

It’s not unusual to spot a squirrel or two, especially if you’re hunting in the trees for stray balls, but I was excited to see my first ever red squirrel, scurrying up a tree in Kilkeel Golf Club.

There are pheasants on many courses in Ireland – here’s a colourful one I snapped at Woodenbridge.

Talking of birds, here’s one I spotted beside a pond at Ballymacscanlon last year.

I have mixed memories of playing Gweedore Golf Club several years ago.  The website describes it as ” a jewel in the middle of the Donegal Gaeltacht” and speaks of the breath-taking views of the Atlantic, however it fails to mention the fact that some of the greens are fenced off – to keep the sheep out!  There were hoards of woolly animals wandering around the course!