Shortly after taking up competitive golf, my tee shot on the sixteenth at Stornoway landed with a splat around two inches to the left of the hole. Somehow, it squirmed around the lip of the cup and stopped two inches from the right edge of the hole. With a handicap of 28 and a couple of competitive rounds under my belt, the thought occurred that golf was a simple game and that, in years to come, holes in one would become a regular occurrence.
Eight years later, that still remains the closest I have ever come to an ace, although an incident a fortnight ago almost eclipsed it. My tee shot on the Whins struck the pin on the full and spun across the green. So close had the ball come to the hole that it had gouged out a deep pitch-mark on the lip of the cup. Sadly, it took three putts before the ball finally dropped.
Anyway, my own experience may well explain why there is always a hint on envy when I hear of a hole in one. That feeling was compounded last week when the latest ace was recorded in Stornoway. Michael Jefferson, a junior member contesting the Ian Fraser Memorial Trophy, saw his tee shot on the Foresters sail through the air for almost two hundred yards before rolling into the hole. It is a fantastic achievement for one so young but where is the justice for those of us who have never managed a hole in one and will soon have difficulty in reaching the Foresters green from the tee, never mind holing out?
Michael was brought back down to earth quickly, as his ace was not enough to win the competition. Instead, the Ian Fraser Memorial Trophy will be added to Adam Longdon’s collection this year. Adam started his round brightly and was level par after seven holes, thanks mainly to birdies on the Manor and Memorial. Adam held on and finished strongly for a nett 70.
The Ladies Section had a busy week, starting with the final of the Tuesday Medal competition. Liz Carmichael continued her fine form – she has won seven of her last nine competitions – to win with a nett 67. Her form was carried through to the weekend event as Liz landed her second medal of the week, with a win in the competition for the Ladies’ Golf Union Medal. Her nett 72 gave Liz a two stroke margin of victory over Rita MacDonald, with Christine Macleod in third position.
The Lifeboat Spoon competition attracted a strong entry of over sixty participants. Unfortunately, despite excellent weather conditions, over one third of the field failed to complete the course and register a score. Of those who did manage to fill in a scorecard, seven managed to post total below par.
Club Captain Murdo O’Brien, who must be wishing the season was just beginning rather than drawing to a close, gave yet more evidence of his recent excellent form by posting the lowest gross score of the day. His 70 became nett 65 and ensured that Murdo’s handicap is now back to where it was this time last year. A birdie on the Manor helped him reach the halfway point only two over par. He added three more birdies on the Ranol, Memorial and Foresters in a level par inward half. That was enough for third place.
Peter Dickie has played in only thirteen competitions this year but, in more than half of those, he has posted scores of level par or better. Last weekend’s outing was in the even better category as Peter recorded nett 64, his best score of the season. Only three over par in his outward half, Peter picked up a birdie on the Caberfeidh and a solid finish gave him the runner-up spot.
The winner of the Lifeboat Spoon was Lewis Mackenzie with yet another of the solid rounds that have seen his handicap cut by four strokes this summer. Birdies on the Manor and Memorial had him three over par at the turn. After a bogey on the Whins, Lewis never put a foot wrong and finished with eight straight pars. Surprisingly, for one playing so well, this is Lewis’ first silverware of the year.
Finally, a reminder that tickets, priced £25, for the prize-giving, dinner and ceilidh dance and guest speaker (Alan Tait of Sky Sports) on 28 September should be reserved at the Club as soon as possible.