Suffolk

Golf ball-stealing cat Merlin targets Aldeburgh course

Peter Bryson with a photo of Merlin
Image caption Peter Bryson said Merlin brought back 30 balls from nearby Aldeburgh Golf Club

A ball stealing cat has been ruining rounds at a golf course - forcing the club's exasperated owners to change their rules.

Rather than stalking birdies, Burmese cat Merlin has been plaguing players at Aldeburgh Golf Club, in Suffolk.

His owner Peter Bryson said he would bring home up to six a day.

The club has told golfers who fall foul of Merlin's rough treatment they can substitute stolen balls without incurring a penalty.

Merlin has been spotted creeping onto the 14th hole fairway and carrying balls off in his mouth.

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A sign on the notice board at the golf club on Saxmundham Road warns: "A large brown coloured Burmese cat has been seen picking up and carrying away golf balls in the vicinity of the 14th hole.

"Where this has been witnessed or when it is virtually certain that a ball has disappeared from the closely-mown surfaces, a substitute ball may be dropped."

Image copyright Jon Hopkins
Image caption Merlin would be spotted taking balls from near to the 14th hole at Aldeburgh Golf Club

Golf ball burglar

The notice informs players that a cat is considered an "outside agency", referring to the ball being moved by someone other than the player or a caddy.

It says that a substitute ball may be used "without penalty", unless it is in the rough.

Mr Bryson, who lives close to the golf club, said he would see the balls "protruding" from Merlin's teeth as he brought them back.

"In the end, he brought about 30 balls back," he said.

He said he thinks Merlin associated the golf balls with ping-pong balls, which he would play with at home.

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