As the summer draws to a close and the evening light dims, the last of the midweek outings of the season was the final of the Ladies Tuesday Medal competition. Donna Young and Jane Nicolson matched each other stroke for stroke over the course and, in the end, it was Donna’s greater handicap allowance that gave her victory.
Ann Galbraith finished in third place in midweek. However, four days later, she won the Saturday Medal final. Earlier this month, Ann edged out Rita MacDonald in the last of the qualifying events in this competition by the narrowest of margins. The final provided a more clear cut win, with Ann picking up a birdie at the Short on her way to victory by two strokes. Mary Joyce was runner-up and Jane Nicolson was a further two shots back in third place.
In the Junior section, Adam Longdon returned to winning ways in the contest for the Ian Fraser Memorial Trophy. He and Michael Jefferson were more or less level throughout the round, until Adam turned the screw with a solid last three holes to take the trophy by four strokes.
The men participated in another charity event, this time for the Lifeboat Spoon, with proceeds going to the RNLI. In recent years, the weather during the event has come close to making it necessary to call on the services of the Lifeboat crew to rescue competitors. This year, there was barely enough rain to fill the silver Lifeboat Spoon that is the reward for the winner.
Two golfers made the most of the conditions: one is returning to a low handicap, while the other is heading into uncharted territory. The winner was Eddie Rogers, a low handicap golfer who set aside his undoubted golfing talent because he preferred standing on a surf board to standing on a tee. Eddie’s arrival in these islands had a great deal to do with the appeal of racing to shore on the crest of wild Atlantic waves without the jostling for position and queuing that besets surfing elsewhere. He has now rediscovered his addiction to golf and it is patently evident that, once the rust is erased from his game, he has abundant natural talent. Eddie has been threatening a low score for some time and it came last Saturday.
Despite a double bogey on the first hole, Eddie picked up birdies on the Manor, Heather and Gunsite to reach the turn in level par. The back nine followed a similar pattern, with birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh taking him to an even par round of 68. His handicap of gave him an unassailable nett score of 61 and, more importantly, took his handicap down to a more realistic 6.
How Allan Macleod must wish he had been introduced to the game, as Eddie was, when he was a youngster. Instead, Allan reached a point in his life, around seven years ago, when the choice became pipe and slippers or clubs and golf shoes. Fortunately for Allan, and for Stornoway Golf Club, there was no contest between the choices and Allan has grafted determinedly to improve his game. His relentless progress to club championship glory, Walker Cup selection and on to world domination took another large step at the weekend.
Consecutive birdies on the Memorial and Redan helped him to nett 63 but even that was not really satisfactory for Allan. He was left ruing dropped shots on the last two holes that prevented him recording his lowest score ever. Nevertheless, his round took Allan’s handicap down to 8 for the first time. In the event, his total only secured third place because his next door neighbour, Marten James, confirming that there is something in the water in Marybank at the moment, upstaged Allan with nett 62.
Marten’s main claim to fame this season is making a nuisance of himself at the other end of Scotland in the Dunaverty Summer Open. It was in that part of the world that he and his side-kick Pete Middleton played the rounds of their lives and gained notoriety as the most brazen pair of golfing bandits ever to leave Lewis. There are those in Stornoway who believed that, for Marten to take only 75 blows to complete a round, Dunaverty must be a nine hole course. The doubters have now been silenced because Marten used last weekend’s competition to equal his performance at Dunaverty.
For the record, his round comprised nine bogeys, seven pars and birdies on the Ranol and Miller, bringing his handicap down by a stroke. There were a number of other useful rounds, notably from John Fraser and Ken Galloway, on a day when conditions made even an average round enjoyable.
Although the official end of the season and annual prizegiving take place in ten days’ time, it is hoped to continue competitive golf on the full course until close to the end of October. That is entirely dependent on the excellent condition of the course being maintained but it means that the start of the Winter League might actually be delayed until winter this year.
The entry form for the Winter League is now available and there is still time to make a late entry for the trip to Golspie: there is some concern at present over the lack of responsible adults on the team sheet.