The condition of some of the locker doors at Stornoway Golf Club suggests that tennis player David Nalbandian is not alone in kicking out in frustration when things go wrong. Nalbandian expressed his annoyance at dropping a service game in the AEGON Championship final last weekend by lashing out at an advertising hoarding. Unfortunately, the hoarding was not as substantial as it looked and a splinter cut the leg of a line judge. Nalbandian was not only disqualified but had his prize money withdrawn.
On the course in Stornoway, a few of the sponsors’ advertising banners appear to have suffered similar “weather” damage. Although most of the damage is minor and could be explained by a flying foot or a carelessly thrown club, at least one seemed to have had a golf trolley and possibly a golfer hurled through it.
The general rule in sport is that, if you cannot resist the urge to vent frustration by flailing around, make sure the person you hit is yourself and the property you damage belongs to you; at least then everyone else is happy. There are few more entertaining images in sport than watching someone who has lost all semblance of sense over something relatively trivial.
One of the reasons that local golfers are happy of late is down to the unstinting work of the fire and rescue services. That Lews Castle Grounds still have trees, wildlife and a golf course has much to do with round the clock efforts to control a spate of fires in the wake of prolonged dry weather. Perhaps some excess water could have been sprayed over the golf course but, sadly, that responsibility was left to an emerging comedy double act, Onions and Biddley. In the best tradition of slapstick, you had to be there to appreciate the level of farce.
Nevertheless, it will take a great deal of rain to dampen the course sufficiently to give golfers proper control of their shots. A fiery surface is setting problems that most competitors are unable to cope with. There are exceptions.
Kenny John Macleod and Iain Mackenzie both produced their best golf of the year to post 37 and 38 points respectively in the midweek Centenary Medal qualifying event. However, those impressive performances were eclipsed by Liam McGeoghegan, whose 42 points eased him well beyond the field. A birdie on the Caberfeidh was the highlight of a round that reduces Liam’s handicap to 20.
At the weekend, all sections played in the Greenkeeper’s Benefit competition. Adam Longdon ploughed a lonely furrow on his own in the Junior Section, while Gill Chadwick picked up a first win of the season in the Ladies Section. Jane Nicolson and Ann Galbraith both returned nett 70 but Gill was in a league of her own on nett 63. An excellent front nine set up her win and Gill has now seen her handicap drop three strokes this month alone.
Only four players broke par in the men’s event. David Black hit a superb gross 69 –easily the best gross score of the day – but his nett 67 was only enough for fourth spot. Successive birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh, thirteen pars and three bogeys made up a top quality round in challenging conditions.
Marten James also birdied the Caberfeidh in his best round of the year and his nett 67 just pipped David Black for third place.
Kenny Maciver put two indifferent rounds behind him to recapture his form from earlier in the season with an impressive nett 66, including a birdie on his final hole. That should have been sufficient to win the competition but Dave Gilmour had other ideas.
Dave has threatened to put together a good score on a number of occasions this year, before running up a double bogey here and there to ruin it. Last weekend, there were few errors. A birdie on the Heather helped towards a respectable halfway total; the inward half was completed in level par thanks in large part to back to back birdies on the Whins and Dardanelles followed by another on the Cup. The nett result was 61 and probably the most comfortable margin of victory we are likely to see this year.
With a little rain falling over the weekend, the course should become more receptive and scores should reflect that in two of the year’s most prestigious events: the final round for the Neil Morrison Trophy and the two rounds this coming Saturday for the Thomson Bruce Trophy.