Golfers of all abilities fear few things more than hearing the dreaded splash of their ball landing in a water hazard.
But James Ablett made a splash of his own at Greetham Valley Golf Club when he dived into one of the course’s many lakes to rescue a runaway trolley.
James, 43, from Wittering, paid a visit to the course for a round with friends on Easter Monday. He had just made his final shot when he spotted a fully-laden golf trolley speeding down a hill from the practice putting green and into one of the lakes at the course’s 18th hole.
The trolley’s owner, a visiting senior player, and her husband, rushed down the hill in a panic. And without hesitation James followed them down and jumped into the lake to rescue the runaway.
James, a member at Greetham for four years, said: “The wind caught the trolley and then it stopped. But then all of a sudden there was one really big gust and the trolley sped down the hill. It was doing about 50mph when it hit the water.
“People were just looking at it scratching their heads and I thought it was the right thing to do to get it.”
The drama was captured on a phone camera by former captain Bob Green, who later uploaded the video to YouTube.
In the clip, long-distance lorry driver James can be seen wading then swimming out to rescue the bag.
“I was quite surprised about the depth,” he said. “I was actually treading water at one point. But I was determined to rescue it.”
The drama was almost doubled when James’ own trolley began to roll towards the lake. Luckily cameraman Bob spotted it in time and was able to prevent another mishap.
But James was too busy swimming back out to retrieve a putter that had broken free from its moorings to notice his own trolley. He said: “Clubs are expensive and you don’t want to see them at the bottom of a lake.”
While swimming is not normally part of his golf round, James is familiar with the water. “Thankfully I am a pretty good swimmer,” he said. “Not long ago I swam across a fishing lake in Skegness for charity.”
After the rescue James was hailed as a hero by fellow golfers and was thanked by the bag’s owner - particularly as one pocket contained an expensive watch. Luckily the watch was still ticking, despite its underwater adventure.
And on Sunday he was rewarded for his efforts with a diving mask and snorkel at the club’s charity day. James has been on the end of a few jokes from his friends since the rescue, but has taken it all in his stride. He said: “I’ve got very broad shoulders.”
And when asked whether he would repeat his heroics, his answer was clear. “I would have no hesitation whatsoever,” he said. “Winter or summer, I don’t mind.”