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Golfing Pets: How To Involve Your Dog In A Game Of Golf

For many owners, being apart from your dogs even for short periods can be difficult. Not to mention the separation anxiety they feel. Our faithful pets love to tag along with whatever we’re doing, whether it’s a walk, playtime at the park or simply chores around the home.

Some lucky dog owners have found a way to involve their pets in their hobbies and leisure activities as well. And, for those who enjoy a round of golf, certain dogs can make wonderful companions on the course.

While not all golf courses allow dogs on the premises, many are open to well-behaved pets on a lead. So if you can’t leave your pooch at home for 18 holes and you’re looking to bring your dog along for a round, here are some tips to ensure you both have an enjoyable time.

Check if dogs are welcome

Before you invite your furry caddy onto the course, contact your local golf clubs to ask if they allow dogs and if there are any requirements for bringing them on the course. If you are planning a trip further afield, a quick online check will tell you if you are allowed dogs on a particular course. Be willing to follow their rules closely to maintain the privilege of bringing your dog. Private or less busy courses may be more open to dogs, especially when it’s less crowded. 

Put safety first 

Safety should always come first when enjoying any activity with your dog. Keep your dog on a lead, not only for control but for their safety. An errant golf ball could injure an unrestrained pet. Also bring plenty of fresh water to keep your dog hydrated, especially on warm days. Watch out carefully for golf carts and other vehicles around the course, as other golfers may not be on the lookout for a dog.  

Engage your furry caddy

To keep your dog engaged during your game, bring some treats, toys and tennis balls to play with during breaks in play, providing essential mental stimulation for your dog in between shots.

Provide plenty of praise and treats when your dog remains calmly at your side – positive reinforcement of good behaviour will make the overall experience better for you both.

Games to play:

  • Fetch – Hit balls into an open area of the course for your dog to chase and retrieve. Start with short distances to avoid losing balls.
  • ‘Doggie caddy’ – Train your dog to carry spare balls, tees or a pouch to get them involved in helping your game. Offer treats as they learn this trick.
  • Hot and cold – Have someone hide a treat or toy on the course while you keep your dog under control. Let them start searching using commands ‘hotter’ and ‘colder’ to direct them to the prize for mental stimulation and fun.

Train your dog before you tee off  

Provide some basic obedience training to prepare your dog for behaving well on the golf course. Commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘leave it’, and ‘quiet’ will be useful. Practice in other distracting environments first before trying the course and with some practice and consistency, your dog can become a well-behaved companion for any activity.

It’s a good idea to introduce golf to your dog before stepping onto the course for the first time. You may wish to bring them to a driving range or practice in a golf simulator to give them the exposure they need.

Golf simulators offer a realistic experience in a comfortable indoor setting, and many facilities welcome well-behaved dogs. Practicing in a simulator is a great way to see how your dog will react to the sounds of swings, balls bouncing and rolling, before hitting the actual course.

Learn the etiquette for dogs on a course

If you have spent time on the course then you will be all too aware of how lots of clubs have etiquette rules that should be adhered to at all times.While you won’t be able to dress your dog in the same attire, brush up on golf etiquette in general and the behavioural expectations of your four-legged caddy.

Ensure your dog does not:  

  • Prance on tees or greens
  • Disturb other players preparing to shoot
  • Make excessive noise by barking frequently  
  • Approach other golfers uninvited  

Practise good etiquette through training your dog to behave respectfully on the course. With consistency, dogs can learn the etiquette of any social situation. As a responsible dog owner, you must pick up after your pet and ensure they remain on a lead for the entirety of the course to avoid any unwanted disruption.   

What to pack 

You’re not just lugging around a bag full of clubs when you bring your dog on the course, you also need to ensure you’ve brought plenty of supplies for them. While they might seem content to simply be by your side, it’s important that you look after their welfare so consider bringing the following items for a good time at your local golf course:

  • Extra leads
  • Poop bags
  • Treats
  • Food/water         
  • Grooming wipes
  • Paw balm
  • Tick prevention
  • Medication (if any) 

Planning ahead will ensure you have everything you need for a successful day out with your pet.  

Types of dogs suited for golf

Your dog might behave like an angel when you take them to the park or forest but it’s a different story on the course. Naturally there are dangerous situations you want them to avoid, from running into someone’s backswing or follow through, to being hit by a ball, chasing small animals and falling into a water trap.

Some traits or breeds naturally suited or easily trained as golfing companions include:

  • Even temperament: Calm, friendly and patient with chaos and noises.
  • Eager to please: Bred to take commands and work with their owner. Retrievers, spaniels, shepherds etc. 
  • Athleticism: Bred or trained for activities involving retrieval, hunting or running. Higher energy levels suit longer courses.  
  • Trainability: Intelligent breeds that respond well to obedience training and redirection. They pick up on the owner’s commands and etiquette.

If you follow these useful tips, you’ll be out enjoying the fairways with your faithful doggy caddy in no time at all! Prepare, train and have fun – these are the keys to a successful day of golf with your dog.


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