As the Crow Flies, so Goes the Pink Ball

If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.
– Jack Lemon –

They call it ‘One Tough Nine’. It is the Golf Course my friends and I play once a week when the weather allows. Three large ponds bring water into play on seven of the nine holes. (Water hazard is just another way of saying mosquitoes.) Large flocks of Canada Geese patrol the fairways and greens – leaving fertilizer calling cards. There is  ample habitat for gopher holes, which are always the right size to lose a golf ball in, and will sometimes grow big enough to take your foot or leg. Sixty eight sand bunkers (most clustered near the greens) provide ample beach time if you tire of trying to find your ball in the grass of the long rough.

Yesterday I discovered yet another hazard. I had an extra good drive off the 5th tee and could see my nice pink golf ball sitting on the top of a small rise at the top of a hill. I lost sight of the ball when I stepped down off the tee box. When I was about half way up the hill, a large crow flew overhead – something pink was clutched in her bill. “That looks like a golf ball,” I thought.

I got to the top of the hill and realized that my golf ball was gone. The crow flew by again, still clutching what was now clearly MY pink golf ball. She continued to circle over head for the rest of that hole, and most of the next one. At one point my friend saw her land, drop the ball, then pick it up again.

There is no penalty if you lose a golf ball to a predator, unless, of course, you keep score like we do. We don’t count our strokes, we just keep track of how many golf balls we lose. The thieving crow meant I was down one. But I had found a white ball earlier in the round, so technically I was even, though one white ball does not equal a coloured ball in my view.

I won’t go into the laws of probability, but I have to wonder – what were the chances that a crow would pick up a golf ball at that location on the golf course at that particular time? Did the colour of the ball affect the crow’s choice, or was the colour the only reason the crow picked up the ball at all? If I had shot another pink ball, would the crow have dropped my first ball and picked up the second one? (It was unfortunate that I had run out of pink balls or I could have found out the answer to that last question.)

When I got home I rummaged through a cupboard in the garage and found the box of pink golf balls that I had got for Christmas. I’m armed and ready for the hazards of the course next week!

My game went so bad today, that I lost two balls in the ball washer.
– Author unknown –

Addendum: I golfed again the following week. I was talking to the course marshal before our tee time.  “Watch out for the crow”, he said. “We had a tournament here a few days ago, and the players were using pink golf balls.  The crow stole at least 9 of them.”

I used my pink golf balls anyhow, but kept an eye out for crows before I teed off. I only lost 2 pink balls that day – none to the crow, though!