Despite the rapid onset of wintry weather, there are a couple of reasons to be cheerful in saying farewell to November. Firstly, the course that encouraged low scoring with little reward is changing. The new setup is shorter and that should allow the more senior Winter League participants to compete on a level playing field with those who are comfortably covering the distance from tee to green on par 5 holes with two leisurely swings of a club.
Secondly, the end of Movember mercifully brings razors back into operation. There is no doubt that raising awareness of men’s health issues is a worthy cause. However, it is painful to be reminded of that guy from Village People every time Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald comes over the horizon. There are other culprits. Peter Grant is slowly transforming into one of the Three Musketeers, or perhaps more aptly Albert, the fifth Musketeer – “he’s sharp, he’s cool, he’s nobody’s fool”.
David “Spider” Macleod is in a league of his own. Not only has his moustache enveloped his entire face but it is now heading south. His weary Winter League partner, Donald John Smith, suffers the embarrassment of trudging round the golf course accompanied by a werewolf, albeit a werewolf with a handicap of 11 – and there are not many of them around.
The final round on the current course layout last Saturday produced the familiar handful of rounds that are well under par on a day when a score of nett 47, three under par, was only enough for one scoring point. No less than nine teams posted that total and all will rue the missed opportunities that would have brought much greater reward.
One stroke better, two teams collected six scoring points apiece. Previous Winter League winners, Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald and Murdo Maclennan, opened with two bogeys before birdies on the Memorial and Long Caber/Foresters pulled them back to level par at the turn. A steady back six, with only one shot dropped, equalled the gross and nett totals returned by Eddie Rogers and Garry Murray.
Eddie and Garry also birdied the Memorial and Long Caber/Foresters, were also level par at the turn and, similarly, dropped only one shot on the inward half.
Bryan Geddes and Colin Macritchie once again took the course apart in posting the lowest gross score of the day at four under par (nett 45). That was one shot better than on the previous weekend, taking them into joint second place and earning them nine scoring points. Successive birdies on the Redan and Gunsite were the highlights of their first six holes and, like almost every pairing scoring multiple points last Saturday, Bryan and Colin went on to birdie the Memorial and Long Caber/Foresters.
Kevin Macrae and Griddy Macleod matched the lowest gross score of the day and came within a whisker of winning for a second consecutive week. Once again, they picked up an eagle on the Manor and, of course, grasped birdie opportunities on the Memorial and Long Caber/Foresters.
Having collected scoring points for the first time two weeks ago, courtesy of a nett 45 that gave them a share of second place, Peter and Murdo O’Brien repeated the feat last weekend. A double bogey on the Redan was the only blight on an opening half that included a birdie on the Gunsite. The inward half was solid par golf until a birdie on their final hole.
Another father and son pairing, Donnie and Donald John Macleod, have been making their own impression on the competition. Over the previous two weeks, they had picked up sixteen scoring points and added another nine last weekend. A birdie on the Dardanelles kept them under par at the halfway point and they joined in the plundering of birdies on the Memorial and Long Caber/Foresters to secure a share of second place.
The winning team is a familiar pairing in the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League and their challenge finally took wings last Saturday. Club Captain Allan Macleod and Al “Greens” Macleod posted nett 44 to win by one stroke. Nine pars and three birdies, on the Dardanelles, Memorial and Long Caber/Foresters gave Allan and Al fifteen scoring points and catapulted them from thirty-third to twelfth in the overall competition.
Andy Macdonald and Arthur Macintosh are now in fifth position in the overall league table on 37 points. Three teams are tied on 39 points: Kevin Macrae and Griddy Macleod, like Bryan Geddes and Colin Macritchie, have jumped four places to join Alasdair Maclean and Willie Macaulay in second position. The pace setters remain David Gray and Gordon Kennedy, retaining their six point lead on 45 points.