IT’S A DOG’S LIFE
There were five in our bedraggled little group trudging around the golf course last weekend in the latest round of the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League. The fifth member was Eddie Rodger's dog. With all due respect to Eddie and his playing partner, Garry Murray, the dog was the most extraordinary character of the threesome.
She sat patiently at the side of every green as we putted, stood quietly to the side while we played from the fairway and generally observed the rules of golfing etiquette that many of us struggle with. However, it was on the tee that she was at her most fascinating.
As soon as Eddie stepped onto the tee, his dog settled down and gave him her full attention. She studied his pre-shot routine and pricked up her ears once she realised he was beginning his backswing in earnest. She never followed the flight of the ball but instead kept her eyes fixed on Eddie's follow through. As soon as he picked up his tee, the dog turned away in readiness for another walk down the fairway. Curiously, she had no interest in watching Garry's tee shots. Perhaps she knows something that we do not.
Eddie is well known as an expert in the technicalities of the golf swing; his dog will have seen many weird and wonderful pre-shot routines and an even more intriguing panoply of putting strokes. There is the slightly unnerving suspicion that, when they arrive home, Eddie's dog takes him aside to let him know where his swing let him down and gives some advice on how to remedy that.
There is no doubt that the dog knows her golf. After a particularly depressing bogey, which included a shank and a fluffed chip, Eddie's dog sidled up to me, looked up sadly and nuzzled my leg. It was as if she understood my pain. There is also the possibility that she was gently trying to push me off the course but I really do not believe she is that type of dog.
Despite the dreich conditions, scoring was surprisingly low; two under par was required to pick up just a single point. Two strokes lower, three pairings earned eight points each.
Iain Morrison and Andrew Reeves continued their impressive run through an excellent outward half. Despite a double bogey on the Miller, Iain and Andrew regained composure and made par on the remaining four holes.
Murdo and Peter O'Brien probably felt their chance of earning points and gone when they began their inward half already three over par. Instead, five par holes and a birdie on the Caberfeidh helped them kick-start their Winter League campaign.
Stewart Macdonald was missing last weekend but, nonetheless, suffered that worst of embarrassing moments of Winter League, when his playing partner, Peter Dickie, picked up points in his absence. A birdie on the Whins was the highlight of a hard-fought round and, to add insult to injury, the eight points picked up were the first for the pairing this winter.
Norman L Macdonald and Iain Macleod eased themselves into the runner-up spot with an excellent nett 40, which brought them a dozen points. The Glen proved to be a troublesome hole for most of the field and it also cost Norman and Iain a shot; another bogey on the Whins was immediately redressed by a birdie on the Manor. A bogey on the Castle was the last slip of the day, as the pair completed their best round of the campaign.
Those who hoped that David Black had gone into hibernation for the winter had a rude awakening themselves last Saturday. The rest of the field was in awe, not because of the fact that David and his father, Michael, won on the day, but because of the manner of their victory. A birdie on the opening hole, the Castle, was a portent of things to come; in fact, the Caberfeidh was the only hole of the outward half that was not birdied. There was a more normal feel to the inward half: there were four par holes, a bogey on the Whins and a birdie on the Manor. Their gross total of five under par was easily the lowest of the day and their nett 38 brought David and Michael maximum points.
This weekend, Winter League takes a break. David and Michael will have another two teammates to assist in the Ken MacDonald & Co sponsored TeXmas Scramble competition. Fireworks expected.