The return of rain in recent weeks has prompted the usual complaints about the weather. Those of us with memories short enough to forget that we saw practically no rain for months earlier this year would do well to remember that, last year, there were only five days without rain from mid-August until the end of October. This year is a vast improvement already but, when excuses have to be found, weather conditions are a useful source.
However, last Saturday had the combination of light winds and sunshine that not only encourages low scoring but also tempts those who rarely visit the course in inclement weather to reach those parts of the course that they seldom see. They reacquaint themselves with places like the Miller fairway, which is often a hole too far in wet and windy conditions. There is ample proof.
Exhibit A is that a field of more than fifty golfers participated in the final Jackson Medal qualifying event, almost twice the number who had paddled their way around the course in this competition a year ago.
Exhibit B is that almost every golfer actually completed the full eighteen holes. Chris “Tex” Graham could be a figure from one of those traditional weather house barometers: if he is anywhere outside, there will definitely be no rain. Last weekend, Chris was not only out but he also stayed out and won the competition. Actually, Chris has played more often than usual this year and his golf in recent weeks demonstrates the level that he is capable of playing at when he averages more than one round a month.
Two weeks ago, Chris posted a useful nett 70, with the bulk of the work being done on the opening nine holes. It was a similar story last Saturday, when a birdie on the Manor helped him reach the turn only two over par. The inward half was a little less spectacular but then again Chris is not there very often. His best score of the year, nett 64, was good enough to win on the day and the pressure is now on Chris to turn out again for the Jackson Medal final this weekend, regardless of what weather system is passing by.
Joe Rankin continued in the form that gave him a top three finish in the Tupper Cup at the start of the month. Despite a troubled start to his round, Joe finished strongly with a birdie on the Caberfeidh helping him to cover the final six holes only one over par. His nett 65 also gives Joe a place in this weekend’s final.
Arthur Macintosh took third spot with his third consecutive sub-par round and one that has taken his handicap down by a stroke. This latest nett 65 was the product of a remarkably steady round. Seven pars and two birdies took him to the halfway point two under par. Having picked up bogeys on the first two holes of the inward half, Arthur birdied the next two, completing the last seven holes of his round in level par.
The next three places were filled by members of the Clan Macleod. Iain is making a late charge to bring his handicap back to where it stood at the start of the summer season; one more decent round similar to his nett 66 last Saturday will make certain of that. Kevin “Lava” has played little golf of late but he is already on track to finish the season with his lowest ever handicap. Griddy, like Kevin, recorded nett 67 and that was just enough to bring his handicap back to 4. That is made even more impressive by the fact that much of his spare time during the glorious days of summer was spent on firefighting duty.
The ladies played the latest round of the Cancer Relief stableford completion. Jane Nicolson appeared to be easing to victory until Donna Young picked up fifteen points over the last six holes to edge ahead by one point. Jane has the consolation of knowing that she will finish the season with a handicap at least three strokes less than it was back in April.
Entry forms for the Winter League are now posted in the locker rooms. Any members wishing to play, but presently without a partner, should add their names to the standby list. Members are also reminded that the annual prize-giving is now scheduled for Friday 5 October. Trophies awarded last year should be returned to the clubhouse as soon as possible. The change in date of the prize-giving is because tomorrow (Friday) evening the Club hosts hypnotist Miles England. Miles has been a resounding success in previous visits and any tickets remaining for the show can be purchased from the Club. Those of a suggestive disposition are warned that they may top the bill without realizing.
The matchplay competitions played throughout the summer months are now reaching an end. John “Shillegan” Gillies won the Bain Cup, while David Black underlined another successful year with victory in the Burns Cup.
Stewart Macdonald had an emphatic victory in the final of the senior competition for the Clansman Trophy but, in truth, he was rarely troubled in any of the previous rounds and this was a thoroughly deserved victory.