When I learnt from http://doggolf.info/ that Wales is among the least dog-friendly golfing corners of what for the moment, however inappropriately, we still call the United Kingdom, I felt an extra surge of pride in the lovely course and excellent club that have grown from a string of holes my great grandfather planted in the Aberdovey Common in the mid-1880s, using a set of nine flower pots acquired from Mrs Timber Jones.
This playground, which boasts the best greens in the Principality and bunker sand so soft you could fill an egg-timer with it, has given as much pleasure to our dogs as to me, and considerably less anguish. Admittedly, links golf has its frustrations for dogs, with the scent and sound of the sea a constant companion, so close and yet out of bounds; not to mention the stream of interesting-smelling dogs that cross our path on their way to the beach, pulling bearers of cricket bats, kites and surfboards in their wake.
My dogs are not alone in sensing and on occasion succumbing to the call of the sea. Only last month, on a warm Sunday evening when the course was empty but for an agonisingly slow four-ball in front of us, a friend and I stripped off beside the 12th green, ran down to the beach and into the waves. We soon caught up with the four-ball again, my friend in bare feet and I missing one sock (presumed stolen by seagull). Aberdovey is a holiday course and looks kindly on such irregularities of turn-out; at least, in August it does.