The curtain came down on Golf Week last Saturday. It was fitting that the final event, the One Day Open, should be won with the lowest score of the week by one of the most promising of local golfers, David Black. His gross 63 (nett 60) missed equalling the course record by a single stroke. When he next takes the course apart, it is unlikely that David will repeat last weekend’s whirlwind run from the Castle, where he made a rare eagle. Five birdies over the next six holes set up a remarkable round and victory in the competition by a comfortable five strokes from Cal Murray. Of more importance to David than the impressive trophy is the fact that he is now playing off a handicap of two.
David was one of the beaten semi-finalists – the other being Scott Maciver – in the Western Isles Open, which reached its climax last Friday. Norrie O Macdonald emerged as champion, defeating Kevin Macrae in a closely fought contest. For Norrie, it is welcome evidence that he is now returning to the form that made him a scratch golfer.
The Western Isles Open handicap winner was another of the clan, Iain Macdonald, who played consistent golf throughout the week and has a natural talent for the game. Juggling the responsibilities of work, building a house and managing the clubhouse appear to have actually improved Iain’s golf. There is probably a moral in that story but it may be for the best if we simply ignore it. As in the One Day Open, and in this event last year, Cal Murray was once again the runner up. Cal has improved immeasurably in the relatively short time since he took up the game and there is no doubt that his name will be etched on trophies in the near future.
The Seniors trophy went to the West Side with the Neil Macleod, now christened as the new Arnol Palmer, taking the title by winning against Iain Macritchie. There was some surprise that Neil was old enough to be eligible to play in this competition. Any lingering doubts were dispelled when Neil and Iain, playing together in the Mens Greensomes event, had a definite senior moment and attempted to enter the mixed sex version of the competition. They were lying in third place before it was realised that neither of them is a woman.
Jane Nicolson became the Western Isles Ladies Open champion by defeating Rita MacDonald in the final. It was the culmination of a very good week for Jane, who won the Ladies Stableford Trophy from Jan Maclennan and Rita MacDonald. Jane also emerged victorious, with golfing partner Graeme Whyte, in the Mixed Greensomes.
Jan Maclennan and Rita MacDonald were also placed in the Ladies One Day open, which was won by Mary Joyce.
Club Captain Norrie Macdonald was part of the winning team in the Foursomes, although he claimed to be more spectator than participant as Murdo O’Brien put in a virtuoso performance. Their nett 58 was three strokes clear of three teams on nett 61.
Norrie was again, by his own admission, an interested spectator in the Mixed Texas Scramble. With teammates Pete Middletion, Ian Lambie and Magnus Johnson, Norrie contributed to a nett total of 55.7 to win the event. Their gross total of 60 was also the lowest of the competition.
The Mens Greensomes was won by Richard Galloway and Peter Mackay. Their superb nett 58 was four strokes clear of second placed Gordon Kennedy and Charlie Maclean.
As the weather deteriorated, it became clear that the midweek Mens Stableford Trophy would not be marked by low scoring. Only two players came in under par. Robbie Macrae was runner up with 37 points, one point adrift of the eventual winner, Duncan Maclean.
In a week with around five hundred rounds of golf played, and probably as many balls lost, there were two holes in one, with Norrie Maclean and Bryan Geddes the golfers unlucky enough to have to stand a round in the club on the busiest week of the year.
Amidst the test of individual competition, the camaraderie of team events and meeting friends old and new, the real winner was once again the golf course, challenging as ever and, despite the thousands of shots played, as immaculate at the end of the week as at the beginning.
The pessimist now sees the season wind down towards the Winter League, while the optimist looks forward to another opportunity to break handicap this weekend and in the forthcoming Club Championships. There are still the Harris and Askernish Opens to whet the appetite and a trip to Golspie for those of a strong constitution. And next year’s Golf Week is only twelve months away.