It may not have taken weeks of protest in Perceval Square nor flag-waving gatherings on the Macaulay Road roundabout, but Stornoway Golf Club has quietly joined in the latest popular pursuit: regime change.
In a manner more reminiscent of dictatorship rather than fledgling democracy, the new Club Captain Allan Macleod was elected unanimously at the recent Club AGM. Allan has his team in place and hopes to build on the foundations laid in recent years to address the long-term future of the golf club, improving the course and developing the first-class clubhouse facilities.
Less than a week into his new role, Allan has already experienced the first touch of the Curse of the Captain. The curse is an unexplained affliction that causes club captains to lose any semblance of ability to play golf during their term of office. The previous incumbent, Norrie ‘Tomsh’ Macdonald, did manage to reverse the slide towards the end of his captaincy, so there is some hope for Allan. Whether the curse extends to those filling the role of Vice-captain is unknown, but the latest occupant of the post, Murdo O’Brien, discovered last weekend that the omens are not very promising.
On the course, last Saturday was a day when the increasingly raw, wet and windy weather was reflected in higher scoring than in recent weeks. Level par returns were enough to secure scoring points for the first time in months.
Of the three teams returned nett 43 for 7 points each, two are reaping the benefit of having both team members available. Sandy Bruce and Eddie Mackenzie picked up points for the fourth week in succession and climbed another nine places in the overall table. By their own admission, they slipped up on the inward half and are clearly capable of lower scoring,
Ken Galloway has ploughed a lonely furrow for months, only to be absent when his partner, John Macleod, returned two weeks ago. Their first joint visit to the course since mid November was a productive one. Birdies on the Foresters and Glen in a gross round of 46 underlines their potential and the 7 scoring points lifted them into seventh position overall.
Stephen Moar and David ‘Kiwi’ Macleod took their points tally for the past three weeks to 22 courtesy of an impressive round that consisted of ten consecutive pars followed by two bogeys.
Murdie Macdonald and Iain Macritchie picked up a birdie on their third hole, the Heather, and remained one under par until a demoralising double bogey on the Long Caberfeidh. They managed to steady things and finished with two important pars for a nett 42, which was enough to put them into third place and secure 9 scoring points.
Two teams tied for first position and both are fairly new to Winter League. Kevin Macleod and Norman Morrison played for the first time together last year while for James Hood and John Sommerville, this campaign marks their debut in Winter League. Both teams have the benefit of double digit handicaps but, as everyone who played at the weekend will attest, last Saturday the course was a challenging test and it took a special effort to return nett 41. The winners collected 14 scoring points apiece.
Kevin and Norman had a difficult opening half but the frustration of a triple bogey on the Ranol was forgotten on the return leg with two bogeys and four pars.
James and John had an almost identical round, finding the opening six holes a tough prospect. Their inward half was impressive, with only one bogey on the card and a handicap of ten did the rest.
David Black and Euan Morrison continue to lead in the overall competition with 74 points. Sharath Shetty and Andrew Sim remain in second position, six points behind. A further five points adrift, on 63 points, are Al and Allan Macleod. Murdo and Peter O’Brien are in fourth place on 62 points, while the weekend exploits of Stephen Moar and David ‘Kiwi’ Macleod move them up into joint fifth spot alongside Alistair Maclennan and Neil Macleod on 60 points.
Those golfers who prefer to check the position of the hole via satellite before risking a shot will be relieved to hear that the Club AGM agreed to the use of Distance Measuring Devices (DMDs) in competition in Stornoway this summer. At least there is now something else to use as an excuse when things go wrong. And the machine is unable to talk back - not yet, anyway.