The Ken MacDonald & Co sponsored TeXmas Scramble is one of the highlights of the winter calendar at Stornoway Golf Club. Although the competition has been played in all weather conditions, it has been cancelled only once. Last weekend’s field of more than ninety golfers was testament to the popularity of the competition. The number of participants was probably influenced by the weather conditions; rarely can the TeXmas Scramble have been played on a calmer, milder day.
The Texas Scramble format of a team of four players having to contribute three tee shots each over the course of twelve holes may allow a relaxed start to the round with plenty of options. Team members can spray the ball all over the course, secure in the knowledge that only one good shot is required However, as holes begin to run out, the earlier team camaraderie dissipates and the foursome rapidly disintegrates into a collection of individuals desperately trying to avoid being the one standing alone on the final tee.
The conditions ensured that every team had its share of birdies. It soon became clear that the forecast in last week’s Stornoway Gazette – “Expect the winning total to be around a dozen strokes under par” – was so startlingly accurate that it is surprising that so much else of the golf notes is error strewn and based on rumour and conjecture.
No golfing competition is complete without a tale of woe and, more often than not (according to rumour) no tale of woe in Stornoway Golf Club is complete without the involvement of Jamie Duncan at some stage. In fact, Jamie took centre stage last Saturday, mainly thanks to his committing of the cardinal sin in golf: he drew attention to the fact that he was playing well.
Unfortunately, playing well is a difficult enough accomplishment and letting people know that you are playing well is a certain recipe for disaster. Pleased with his performance on the greens over the first few holes, he informed anyone within earshot that he was now to be known as Jamie “One Putt” Duncan. Our intrepid golfer then marched down to the Foresters green waving his magic putter in the air, unaware that his boast had angered the golfing gods and that he was about to be punished.
Jamie confidently stroked his birdie putt towards the hole and was stunned as it trickled past. Nonchalantly, he knocked the ball into the hole for a par. To make matters worse for “One Putt”, his team mate George Macaskill assumed that mantle and sank the birdie putt immediately afterwards. Unfortunately, once a ball has been holed, it is the ball in play and so Jamie’s team had to sacrifice George’s birdie putt and mark down Jamie’s two putt par. That simple error cost the team a share of second place in the competition and ensured that Jamie will be asked to retell the story every weekend between now and Golf Week – that’s in mid-July in case Jamie wonders how long the stigma will last.
Thanks to Jamie, there was only one team in the runner up position. Greenkeepers Al “Greens” Macleod and Cal Robertson were teamed with Club Captain Allan Macleod and Richard Galloway. On any other day, their haul of seven birdies should have been enough to secure the trophy. They had a dream start, picking up birdies on their first four holes before a “lean” spell of five consecutive pars. Birdies on their final three holes took them clear into second place. On the standard scorecard, the team had seven successive birdies from the Miller to the Cup. With a handicap of 1.9, their nett total was 36.1.
The winning team had the slightly more generous handicap of 2.0 but even without a handicap they would have won the competition. Donald John Smith, David Macleod, Griddy Macleod and Kevin Macrae had a total of nine birdies in a superb round. It is easier to name the holes that they played in par – the Miller, the Long Caberfeidh and the Cup. A gross total of nine under par is possibly the lowest ever recorded for a TeXmas Scramble competition and confirmation that the best combination for a winning scramble team is two low handicap golfers and two bandits: how Griddy Macleod is still playing off a handicap of 5 is a mystery and the less said about Kevin Macrae masquerading as anything but a scratch golfer the better.
This weekend, the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League action returns and there are also competitions throughout the festive period. It is worth reminding everyone that the club shop has wide variety of leisure wear for those looking for last minute quality Christmas gifts. Having a golf shop attached to the Club is something that all members should support and, in similar vein, the annual Golf Club Burns Supper, which will be held on 25 January, is also deserving of support from members and, indeed, anyone looking for an enjoyable evening of extraordinary value for money.