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It started with “Chrisanne’s been in the garden all day!” a reference to Maggie Mary next doors’ daughter who has green fingers up to her elbows and loves nothing better than a 12 hour stint tending the herbaceous borders. I have heard the distant whines of 2-strokes being readied for the annual assault on the vegetation for the past few weeks, but dismissed them as being too eager, the weather too cold or, to be perfectly honest, just a plain interruption for a man with a mission to halt the steady rise in handicap since we resumed, what is euphemistically referred to as, summer golf.

Let’s be honest, it hasn’t exactly been warm around these parts, despite the sky apparently being full of ash from what looks like a pretty upset volcano. Whatever else we get from the north this summer, please don’t let it be cold wind or more lava. I have a shed and roof to paint and a holiday flight to catch at some point.

I sensed the “ante” was being raised somewhat when I asked her the other morning if I would take the day off to keep an eye on her as she was feeling a bit poorly.  She had a basin by the bed when I called in to see if she was better from an overnight burst of what appeared to be a sort of flu, but the mind and the tongue were as sharp as ever.

“You know the rules” she replied, “If you take the day off, you won’t be playing golf tonight!”

I felt twelve again.

I’m 48, have two grow(ing)-up children and an overdraft. I’m going grey, take medicine to keep gout at bay and if the truth be told I’m under-tall for my weight.

There is something reassuring about your mother still putting you “in your place”. Something only she can do to a son and something that still means the world to me. It reminded me of her making me wear a vest under my football strip when I was in primary and we went out after supper to play fifteen-a-side behind the school till dark. It was hard to be Wee Willie Henderson in a vest but I never got a chest cold.

Now when I was in big school and managed to throw a “sickie” rather than face double-French, I had a miraculous habit of recovering in time to attempt to play football in the evening. Naturally enough this was greeted with some scorn and as a teacher she had heard enough fairy stories to give Hans Christian Anderson a decent run for his money. The day I offered to stay home and play Florence Nightingale was the Wednesday of the medal and shame on me if she didn’t look too bad on reflection.

Rest assured the grass was cut on Saturday, Very early indeed.

I have now made the grass angry (it will grow exponentially quickly after the first cut) and will need to spend all my “spare” evenings daisy-mangling.

It will give me more time to think about the content of the 19th hole notes.

Grass, mothers and being a kid again. Familiar?

The young at heart were out in force at Scarista last Monday ensuring Stornoway did not have everything their own way in the first leg of the Roineval Trophy.  With ex-captain Willie Fulton and current incumbent Hugh MacLean forming a formidable partnership and Billy Scott, Kenny Morrison, “Ito”, “Martin Imrie, Simon Hunt and “Sweeney” ensuring a spine of steel through their ranks, they were unlucky not to take any advantage over the Clisham for the return. Stornoway will consider themselves fortunate to have emerged 4-2 winners on the day thanks to the normal audacious act of banditry associated with Mike Butterworth, Pat Aird and Dennis Hall.

On Tuesday, Liz Carmichael won her second ladies medal qualifier with a brilliant nett 66, eclipsing her nearest challenger by five shots and reducing her handicap in the process. Unfortunately she couldn’t maintain this momentum in Saturday’s competition where Jan MacLennan claimed her first win of the season with a fine nett 69. Not content with a win, she also has the distinction of having the new bunker at the back of the ninth green been christened in her honour following her recent attempts to negotiate what can best be described as a “tricky” new hazard. A bout of Tourettes would help describe it at worst by all accounts.

I have, to date, managed to avoid it. I am looking for some new words for that inevitability.

In the Wednesday men’s competition, an angry Ken Galloway , won the Bain & Morrison Shield with a fine nett 66 by virtue of the better inward half from an irate David Black and a chilled out Davie “Coachy” MacLennan.

Ken was angry at having recorded his worst score over Lady Lever Park for 30 years the week before and like the competitor he is set out to quickly redress the “balance”; David irate at my pointing out his standing in the “race for the Isle of Wight” and the need for him to deliver some low scoring. It’s called man-management technique in some circles Davie!

And before you write in, I know what it’s called alternatively.

Last weekend saw the Trades Cup attract another excellent field of over seventy golfers to the course on a day when scoring tumbled as the sun shone and receptive greens meant many birdie opportunities.

Winners on the day (not surprisingly, not for the first time) were the “Greens” team consisting of the in-form Cal Robertson, Al & Allan MacLeod and the ever improving Kevin “Lava” MacLeod. With three scores counting, their nett 198 was all the more impressive considering they had discounted Cal’s score in their tally.

Discounted that is until Dave Gilmour’s, last three-ball-in-the-clubhouse, nett 65, meant that the team including himself , Murdo MacLennan, Iain B MacDonald and myself tied on a similar score.

Unfortunately we had a “Nancy Reagan” (no return) in our quartet and were duly deemed runners-up.

In a team event, it’s an idea to hang in there.

Allan MacLeod and Malcolm “Wahid” MacIver produced the best scores of the day (Nett 63’s) but a plethora of fine golf also saw Alasdair Henderson 72(64) and no less than four nett 65’s. Pick of these was Davie Black’s gross 69 (65) and also nett from Andrew Sim, the aforementioned Dave Gilmour and my own fluke.

Good to see young Mr Black react to the toe-and-backside management technique I described earlier.


Golf Week 2018

June 23rd - 30th


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