A golf club in San Clemente has awarded lifetime membership to a dog because of his uncanny knack of finding lost balls from wayward shots.
But friendly pooch Deuce is having to take the rough with the smooth, because he cannot fully enjoy membership of Shorecliffs Golf Club because dogs are banned from the clubhouse.
Since his owner and club member Murphy the Mayor began taking him for daily walks from his house bordering the course in San Clemente, Deuce has returned more than 3,000 balls the Mayor either sliced or shanked into the long grass. He also retrieves other members' strays shots.
Club secretary Chick N. Neck said: "I've been playing with the same ball for two years. I can't get rid of it."
To mark his abilities, Deuce has been made a member of the veterans' section although at aged six, he is considerably younger than the 50 years needed to qualify as a senior player.
Murphy said his pet comes into his own in the summer months when ferns around the course can grow to more than three feet in height.
"You've got to watch him because he'll carry the same ball around the whole course if you let him," he explained. "If I take one from him he'll go off and look for another one to play with. And that's how we end up collecting so many.
"He won't pick up yellow ones. I can only guess that he thinks it is a tennis ball. He hates tennis balls and usually leaves them for his friend Dingo. They all come back to the club for the boys to use which is good because some of them are quite expensive."