SCRAMBLING IN THE SUNSHINE
Golfers are a tough crowd to please. Less than a month ago, our excuse for poor golf was that the course was so wet that it was virtually unplayable and that it would take weeks of dry weather to improve conditions. You might expect that we would now be happy that a week of cloudless blue skies and a constant easterly wind has drained every drop of moisture from the course. But no, it is now almost impossible to stop the ball on rock solid greens and, on the fairways, it is difficult to pick the ball cleanly off what little grass the wind has left behind.
Despite our despondency, there was a large turnout for last Friday's Texas Scramble in support of the Western Isles Golf Team heading off to Gotland in a few weeks for the NatWest Island Games. In glorious sunshine, teams had to cope with a bitterly cold north-easterly wind and, for most, being a few strokes under par was considered a major accomplishment. There were, of course, the irritating exceptions.
Peter Grant, Pat Aird, Allan "Biddley" Macleod and Al "Greens" Macleod birdied six holes in a blistering outward half. The birdies were more elusive on the inward half, but two more were carded on the Ranol and Caberfeidh as the team posted a nett score of 57.2. Astonishingly, that was only low enough for second place.
The winning team of Murdo Maclennan, Norrie "Tomsh" Macdonald, Michael Black and David Black eagled the Manor and picked up another four birdies to reach the halfway point six under par. There were another four birdies to come and their final nett total was 55.1, almost thirteen strokes under par.
For Norrie "Tomsh", it was the culmination of a momentous couple of days in which he was also elected to serve as Councillor for the Sgire an Rubha ward on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and, as the icing on the cake, won a raffle prize of a canary yellow fluffy headcover.
The support given to the Island Games golf team on the night was admirable. It would be wrong to single out individual contributions but special mention should be made of the support given by members of Harris Golf Club who travelled north to participate in the event.
We send every good wish to David Black, Bryan Geddes, Donald DJ Macleod and Neil Rowlands in representing the Western Isles on the golf courses of Gotland.
DJ Macleod demonstrated his form by posting the lowest gross score of 71 in the weekend charity competition in aid of the Western Isles Kidney Patients' Association (WIKPA). He played some outstanding golf in the bright sunshine and his nett 67 eased DJ into fourth position, edging out Calum Moody by virtue of a better inward half that included consecutive birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh.
John Collins had an even better inward half for his nett 67 and his calm finish over the closing holes gave him third place and earned him his first reduction in handicap allowance.
Ken MacDonald put together a sparkling round, with the highlight being a birdie on the Ditch. His nett 63 could have been even better had he not dropped five shots on the final two holes. Unfortunately for Ken, despite being the leader in the clubhouse for a long period, those dropped shots came back to haunt him.
Stewart Macqueen was one of the last competitors to finish his round and his nett 63 nudged Ken into second place. Stewart had an excellent inward half, with birdies on the Dardanelles and Caberfeidh bringing the reward of the WIKPA Trophy and a swingeing cut in handicap allowance.
The midweek competition was the latest qualifying round for the Caledonian Medal. Iain Moir had another useful round, a birdie on the last hole helping him to nett 67 and third position.
Two over par at the halfway point, Eddie Rogers bagged birdies on successive holes, the Dardanelles and Ranol, and went on to post a nett 66 to take the runner-up spot.
The winning score was nett 64 posted by Darren Beattie, who took the first qualifying spot. He also had successive birdies on the inward half, in his case on the Caberfeidh and Miller, as he carded his best score of the season.
This weekend sees the next qualifying round for the Jackson Medal while a week this Saturday is the date for an unmissable outing, the annual away inter-club match against Ullapool.