One might expect that a prolonged spell of good weather would be welcomed by golfers everywhere. Not at all. The lack of rain and high wind removes a crutch from the amateur golfer. No more can he stride into the clubhouse with a nett 83, proclaiming loudly that he defies anyone to score well in those conditions and that, in any professional event, play would long since have been suspended.
Blaming the wind when the ball veers of course or falls short is no longer an option. Instead, the amateur golfer is reduced to complaining bitterly about fairways so hard that he loses distance control and greens so firm that he cannot hold the ball on them. All of this from a man whose last vestige of control over the ball disappears the moment he places it on the tee and who has difficulty holding the ball on any green in any conditions without the use of some form of adhesive.
To make matters worse, it slowly dawns on the amateur golfer that his problems on the course are not so much a result of the weather conditions as a result of his own failings. And that can lead to the blind panic that sparks emergency surgery on his game. Any tip on improving his score, no matter how ludicrous it may sound or appear, will be eagerly swallowed by the amateur golfer. A radical change of stance, involving curling the toes inward whilst thrusting forward with the hips, will suddenly seem plausible to the amateur. In reality, the only real cure for his woes will be the return of the wet and windy weather that allows him to blame the elements once again.
Some golfers may not retain amateur status for much longer. With his second gross 72 in a week, Allan Macleod has now joined the ranks of single figure handicap golfers. Allan took up golf at a relatively advanced age but his dedication is unquestioned. At this time of year, he is on the course more often than the fairway mower and, if his current rate of progress is maintained, Allan will turn professional just in time for selection for the 2014 Ryder Cup team. His nett 62 for 43 stableford points was enough for Allan to win the midweek Centenary Medal qualifying competition. Four birdies and a finish of one under par over the last seven holes underline the form that Allan is in at present.
Runner up was John R Gillies, who matched Allan’s score of nett 62 but had one less stableford point. The resultant handicap cut secured John promotion to the heady heights of Division One but it was to be a short-lived visit. A touch of vertigo in his weekend performance ensured that he was promptly relegated to the more comfortable surroundings of the Second Division. David Black took third place on 40 points with another example of the excellent form that has seen him shave a full stroke off his handicap since the season began.
The Greenkeepers’ Benefit competition last Saturday had the added benefit of glorious sunshine, which highlighted the work that the greenkeeping staff put into maintaining the course in the face of what must be the coldest spring for many years. Four players carded nett 67 for a share of third place. For David Black, that required a finish of three birdies in the last four holes, while Alistair ‘Greens’ Macleod chose the opposite approach and was one under par for the first eight holes. But for a double bogey on the Ditch, Bryan Geddes had a level par inward half and Kenny Maclean completed the foursome with a round spoiled only by a triple bogey on the Dardanelles.
In second position was Murdo Alex Macleod, whose nett 64 is yet another example of the consistency he has achieved this year. The result is that his handicap is now three strokes less that at the start of the season.
The competition winner was Neil Maciver on nett 61. His score was set up during an impressive middle section of the round, with five pars and two bogeys over seven holes from the Memorial onwards. Like Murdo Alex Macleod, Neil is now playing with a handicap three strokes less than two months ago.
Mairi Maciver won the Ladies’ Greenkeepers’ Benefit competition convincingly, eight shots ahead of Ann Galbraith, with Liz Carmichael in third position.
This week, the ladies compete over two rounds for their Club Championship, while the men have the Flag competition. To complete the weekend in style, with what Donnie Munro describes as ‘the energy and drive of a great live band’, the Club hosts the fantastic Rhythm'n'Reel on Saturday evening.