The mysterious appearance at the weekend of an antiquated pram in the Golf Club foyer has caught the attention of members. Informed speculation is that it is some form of Edwardian golf buggy belonging to Bronco Macarthur, who has made a recent welcome return to competitive golf. The only difficulty with this assumption is that the toys are still in the pram. Although Bronco has had several impressive rounds since his comeback, it is unlikely that any object capable of being hurled into the distance would remain untouched in his pram.
Bronco is one of a number of members who are either returning to competition or taking up competitive golf for the first time. Their returns suggest that having a scorecard in their hands is not playing havoc with the mind. But that will come. In the meantime, having upwards of 100 golfers participating each week in men’s competitions is greatly encouraging for the Club.
The ladies section may be small in number but it is no less competitive. The two rounds of the Ladies Club Championship were held last week and last year’s winner, Mairi Maciver, once again emerged as champion. Mairi carded 89 gross in both rounds of the scratch competition to give her victory by thirteen strokes over Jane Nicolson. Gill Chadwick took third place. For Jane, winner of the scratch trophy two years ago, there was the consolation of winning the handicap competition.
Last weekend, Alastair Henderson was amongst the first to tee off and set a challenging pace in Saturday’s Flag competition. The format of this event is that competitors set their nett score against par and use any remaining strokes to reach as far as possible into a second round. An impressive round of three bogeys, two birdies and thirteen pars gave Alastair nett 62 and left him with six shots to spare. Continuing his early form resulted in Alastair planting the flag forty yards short of the Manor green. It remained there for the rest of the day. This win was another indication of the form that has seen Alastair reduce his handicap by more than a stroke in the last month alone.
The only other golfer to come close was Stewart Macdonald, who also completed a round of nett 62 but miscalculated the number of strokes he had in reserve. Stewart was unsure whether the calculation of strokes should be against par or the standard scratch score of the course. Fortunately, the ear-splitting volume of a sound check by Saturday night band Rhythmnreel drowned out the rest of what Stewart had to say. A number of members have suggested that the sound check be recorded and replayed at full volume whenever the necessity arises.
Colin Macritchie had yet another superb under par round to take third place. His 66 was the best gross return of the competition and his inward half of one under par was just enough to edge out Stephen Moar, Andy Macdonald and David Black, who all matched Colin’s nett 65.
The midweek event was the second round and culmination of the Neil Morrison Trophy competition. As usual, there were familiar names in the prize-winning positions in a competition known by its own more familiar name of the Barber Trophy.
In the scratch section, Norrie O Macdonald followed his first round 68 with 72 and, for the third consecutive year, had to be content with second place. Scratch winner was Colin Macritchie, who started his evening’s golf with a triple bogey 7 on the Castle. That was his last mistake of the night, as Colin went on to notch eight 3s in a round of 68, for an aggregate of 138. That total gave him victory by two strokes.
Murdo O’Brien, current holder of the scratch trophy, has a history of performing well in this competition and this year was no exception. He recorded his best round of the year to date, nett 64, in the first round and added a nett 68 last Wednesday for an aggregate total of 132.
With nett 64 from the first round, Griddy Macleod began his second round tied with Murdo O’Brien. An eagle on the Manor and a birdie on the Memorial helped him to the turn in level par and Griddy safely negotiated the back nine for a nett score of 67, enough to win the handicap prize by one stroke from Murdo O’Brien. This is the second handicap section victory in three years for Griddy.
Willie Macaulay produced his best score of the year in the second round. Back to back birdies on the Memorial and Redan contributed to a nett 62. However, as any mathematics teacher knows, if you don’t play in both rounds of a two round competition, you can’t win anything. The consolation for Willie is that, for the first time in a year, he is playing off a handicap of 12.
The speed at which the season is passing is underlined by the fact that Golf Week is almost upon us. Entry sheets are already available in the main foyer. There are now only two more opportunities for golfers to fine tune their game before the start of Golf Week. This weekend, there is a Jackson Medal qualifying competition, followed in midweek by a Centenary Medal qualifier.
The recent opening of the 19th Snack Bar in the clubhouse should help sustain members and visitors throughout Golf Week and beyond. Those days on the course, when golf is so demoralising that an early return to the Club is the only option, will now be a good deal less demoralising. For as little as the price of a sleeve of Titleist Pro V1s – and infinitely more appetising – the whole family can enjoy a selection of fresh, home cooked fare.