We are privileged to be living in an area where the local newspaper not only reports news but also predicts it with unerring accuracy and with such confidence that discerning readers are able to profit financially if they are so inclined. Last week’s golf report suggested that, for anyone in need of an injection of cash, a sound investment would be a bet on Kevin “Lava” Macleod reducing his handicap by a handful of strokes this season.
The ink was barely dry on the page when Kevin duly obliged. Unfortunately, by the time readers received their copy of the Stornoway Gazette and besieged bookmakers with wads of cash, Kevin had already reduced his handicap by two strokes.
As is often the case, when one golfer is performing well, some of the gloss tends to rub off onto playing partners. That was the case in the midweek Caledonian Medal competition, where Kevin was paired with Club Captain Allan Macleod. Kevin, armed with a handicap of 20, dropped three shots on the opening hole. However, the remainder of his outward half was completed in only three over par. Kevin continued in the same vein on the return leg and, with three consecutive par holes from the Dardanelles, a score in the 50s was looking ever more likely. It was probably at this point that Kevin realised that possibility and, having dropped only seven strokes to par in his first thirteen holes, he squandered another seven over the course of the last five. Nevertheless, his nett 62 gave Kevin a very comfortable win.
Meanwhile, Allan Macleod had also played a solid round until three lost balls on the Dardanelles resulted in a demoralising 12 strokes. When all that the ordinary golfer has left is optimism is generally a sign that the round is at an end. Allan does not come into the category of ordinary golfer and promptly eagled the next hole before picking up birdies on two of his last four holes. In fact, had Kevin had the finish of his playing partner, he would have posted a nett score in the low 50s; but he will probably keep that for another day.
Iain Macleod took second place midweek with an excellent nett 64. A superb opening nine, with a birdie on the Heather, took him to the turn only two over par. A further birdie on the Caberfeidh helped him complete the final six holes in level par and, most importantly, see his handicap slip under the 9 mark - for at least a few days.
Golfers often struggle to cope with a dramatic handicap reduction and spend the following weeks wondering how on earth they ever managed to play at that level. On the other hand, in the weekend Jackson Medal event, Kevin “Lava” posted an excellent nett 65 to shave yet another stroke from his handicap. That was enough for third place, just behind Huw Lloyd, who matched Kevin’s score but edged him out of runner up spot courtesy of a superb inward half.
Huw picked up a birdie at the Dardanelles and, despite a double bogey on the next hole, dropped only one more shot between there and the Avenue. Huw has seen his handicap creeping almost inexorably upwards and this score is welcome confirmation that he is capable of this standard of golf regularly.
The competition winner was Norrie “Onions” Macdonald, who has been playing some outstanding golf since the start of the season. On this occasion, his first nine holes were played in close to record breaking form. Birdies at the Manor, Heather, Gunsite and Short and five pars took him to the halfway point four under par. Despite dropping two shots on the return leg, Norrie finished with nett 64 to win the competition by one stroke.
The win was unexpected because, at this point in the season, competitions are traditionally won by high handicappers of the variety known as bandits. These individuals have usually improved a great deal over the winter months and are generally playing with overly generous handicaps. While the crystal ball remains red hot, it may be worth another prediction. Norman L Macdonald has already posted a nett 63 this year and it is fairly clear that there is another ridiculous score in the offing. Of course, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to make such a prediction when, with no less than two 12s in his round last Saturday, Norman L still slipped comfortably into the buffer zone. Does the “L” stand for “Lava”, by any chance?
In the Ladies Section, Ann Galbraith won the midweek Medal competition ahead of Liz Carmichael, while Adam Longdon secured another win in the Junior section.
There is a packed programme of events in the upcoming weeks, heralded by the opening of the 19th Snack Bar, which is a welcome addition to the facilities offered by the Club. This Saturday sees a return visit by the fantastic RhythmnReel. Tickets should still be available for this ceilidh and places on the golf team are still available for the match against Harris Golf Club in Stornoway next Monday. The entry form for the trip to play Golspie Golf Club on 3 June has been posted and club members are encouraged to enrol for this match. Golspie brought a large number of golfers on their hugely successful visit to Stornoway last year and it would be good to reciprocate in similar fashion.