Just when you think you couldn’t manage to squeeze a win out of the remainder of the golfing year, somehow a brace of flukes has you looking skywards to check that there really isn’t a Santa Claus.
Prior to the senior section at Stornoway Golf Club amending their eligibility criteria several weeks ago, this was to be my first ‘official’ week as a bodach.
I had stuffed the bag full of peppermints, Ralgex, Pro-plus pills and WD40 in preparation for the ‘tour’.
Luckily for me the combined field of just nine had already agreed their tactics.
Let the new boy win.
This diversionary manoeuvre; primarily to ensure my continued enthusiasm to supplement several, already well-endowed pension funds, meant that being the ‘least worst’ in afternoon’s sweep saw me bounce out of the carpark £8 better off.
That 50% of the regulars were aware of the nature of the ‘introductory offer’ and had stayed at home, partially in protest, didn’t put a damper on my celebratory ‘doughnuts’ as I shot through the Porter’s Lodge at a strange angle.
I was meant to have exited via the traditional route.
That I had amassed only a grand total of 26 Stableford points, narrowly pipping Sandy Bruce and Robbie Macrae (24 pts), cut no ice whatsoever when being investigated by the handicapper.
A bit like the ‘Stig’ in Top Gear, nobody actually knows who this is.
Not a soul will admit to being the evil mastermind behind a scoring system so fiendish as to make the ‘Duckworth-Lewis’ method look like the Mod Traditional Gold Medal formula.
I have already been brutally slashed by a stroke after just a single outing.
I did notice that as I birdied the last hole, the ‘Long Cabar’; playing partner Robbie ‘inexplicably’ took a bogey five (with a grin).
He is sitting 3rd in the table with his handicap intact.
This is definitely a tough school and I have much to learn.
Current leader, Norrie MacLean, had been going along steadily prior to his previous outing.
A complete miscalculation saw him amass 27 points and two strokes disappear from his allowance as he hit the front.
We all remember ‘Crisp’ from the 1973 Grand National.
The top sees Norrie on 162 points after 7 outings, second John Collins on 153 (7) and third Robbie 147 (7).
A similar tale in the CarHire Hebrides Winter League saw Murdo ‘Hollo’ MacLennan and I prevail for the first time in quite a long while.
As an avid Aberdeen and Liverpool supporter, Murdo can’t quite remember if our previous league title (yes folks, we’ve actually won the damned thing) was prior, or subsequent, to theirs.
1985 and 1986 to save you all checking.
“You must have played well?’, was the enquiry as the scores were announced.
If the truth be told, both of us have played much better and we have been nowhere near the points at the end of play.
We have imploded at the same hole.
Last weekend we both had six good holes and six fairly awful ones.
To doing well in a pairs format, ‘dovetailing’ is key.
My six ‘good’ holes (remember everything is relative), coincided with Murdo’s bad ones.
Our handicap, and the fact that everyone else seemed to have an off-day, combined to ensure we stole the sweep money (£5 each) and the full 15 points on offer for an outright win.
The Senior tour is much more lucrative.
Our 43(37) pipped no fewer than four teams into second place for 9 scoring points each.
The Georges, Mould and MacLeod, combined for 49(40), despite opening their day with a double-bogey at the ‘Castle’. Further dropped shots at their 5th and 6th holes had them out in 26.
Just a single dropped shot, at their 8th, the ‘Heather, on the way home (23) cemented a profitable day’s work.
Arthur MacIntosh and Pat Aird have yet to fulfil their own, combined, potential, possibly due to their (as yet) inability to back each other up. Dropped shots at the 1st, 3rd, 6th and 8th holes had seen their attempts to get ‘things going’ meander down a certain creek in a completely unsuitable vessel prior to a late flourish.
Birdies at their 10th & 11th made all the difference.
Their 46(40) for 9 points moves them into 10th position in the table.
Injuries to Ken Galloway have hampered his, and partner John R. Gillies’ , attempts to mount a challenge.
Ten pars and just two, consecutive, dropped shots at the ‘Long Manor’ and ‘Castle’, helped them get back on track with a fine 46(40).
Pick of the ‘best of the rest’ was the 46(40) of Willie MacAulay and Donald ‘Sweeney’ MacSween.
A double at their second hole, the par-4, ‘Glen’, might easily have derailed a less tenacious duo.
Level par for their next ten holes thanks to a birdie at the 5th (Short), a bogey at the 11th (Ranol) and ten solid pars helped them to 46(40) also.
More significantly it catapults them into sole 2nd place in the league on 36 points.
They have, however, seen their handicap slashed from 8 to just 4.
Just 8 adrift of the leaders, they will still feel capable of closing the gap further.
David & Michael Black (+2).............................................44 pts
Willie MacAulay & Donald ‘Sweeney’ MacSween (4)......36
- 3)=Andrew Reeves & Iain Morrison (5).................................32
- N.L MacDonald & Iain MacLeod (5).................................32
- 5) Peter Middleton & Iain Moir (2)........................................30
Down at Scarista they appear to heading into the Christmas week with exactly the right attitude.
A ‘secret Santa’ format, as yet untried.
Bring along those unwanted presents you all got from your non-golfing relatives this time last year.
From Hugh ‘Ebeneezer’ MacLean.
“ If there's a winner to be decided on 'countback' , then Simon Hunt's your man.
Recent evidence backs this to the hilt.
Last week the "Stableford King" relegated yours truly to 2nd place by virtue of countback.This week it was the turn of Willie " he Bold" Fulton to be turfed off the peg because he ran out of gas over the last few holes and was gazumped by the countback rule.
I mean, Simon is as fit as the proverbial flea and tears round the course like Usain Bolt, especially the back nine.
Humpback rule I call it.
So Willie relegated to 2nd place with a nett 52, Simon taking first place with a net 52 (but winning by virtue of B.I.H.) and Alan 'the Gunner' Gunn in third place with a net 53.
All to a par of 52 , so fair scoring in the conditions.
it’s to be a fun competition.
All competitors to bring a wee prezzie.
Now where's that auld 'Commando ‘?”