Largely unreported by the national media, Liz Carmichael took time off from her various roles as teacher, coach, shop assistant and administrator to record a superb nett 66 and, incredibly, experience a reduction in her handicap. We are reliably informed that Liz last achieved this feat when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister. Her total was enough to win the Tuesday Medal Qualifying event by five strokes from Ann Galbraith.
It was encouraging to see a healthy entry for the ladies Saturday Medal competition. Rita Macdonald took second place and the winner was last weekend’s runner up, Jan Maclennan. True to form, the arrival of the Maclennans did indeed coincide with better weather and the weekend in particular saw almost perfect golfing conditions.
With current thinking extolling the benefits of change and doing things differently, the winner of the Bain Morrison Shield was a reminder that we still have a great deal to learn from experience. Ken Galloway may have begun his golfing career shortly after women won the right to vote, but he has a distinguished track record of winning trophies in Stornoway, and beyond, over the past five decades. His latest win is all the more impressive because he was five over par after only four holes. The rest of his round was completed in a creditable three over par for a nett total of 66, a score matched by two other competitors, David Black and Dave ‘Coachie’ Maclennan. In keeping with the mood of the week, a recount was required and the two Davids lost out on countback. Despite consecutive birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh, it was a double bogey on the Dardanelles that came back to haunt David Black, while Coachie marred an otherwise superb round with an 8 on the Ranol and a triple bogey on the last hole. Courtesy of three 2s on his scorecard, one might have expected the name of the renowned mathematician Willie Macaulay to appear amongst the winners. Unfortunately for Willie, the number 6 appeared on his card four times, as did another number which cannot be mentioned but is a little higher than 6.
The individual and team format of the Trades Cup ensures that it is always a popular competition and this year was no different, with a field of over seventy participating. Last week, mention was made of the fact that only twenty-five sub par rounds had been recorded in all thirteen competitions this season. This week alone, another twenty-four were added, with the majority coming in the Trades Cup. In the individual competition, Alastair Henderson’s nett 64 would have won almost any other event this year but he had to be content with third place last Saturday. A birdie on the Redan was the highlight of his first nine holes and was the start of a run that culminated in an excellent level par back nine.
Two players, Malcolm Maciver and Allan Macleod, recorded nett 63. Malcolm had the distinction of a rare birdie on the Dardanelles in his round and, coupled with a second birdie on the Redan, this was his best score for a very long time. The reason that it was not the winning score was because Allan Macleod also had his best round, possibly since records began. His birdie on the last hole brought a fitting conclusion to an impressive back nine of two over par and that was just enough to win the individual prize. Allan is the epitome of the adage that ‘practice makes perfect’; he spends so much time on the golf course that, on the new scorecards, he will be identified as a moveable obstruction, which under the rules of golf means that, if necessary, he can be removed without penalty.
Allan’s birdie on the last was also to prove vital in the team competition. His Greenkeepers team, with fellow members Alastair Macleod, Cal Robertson and Kevin Macleod, recorded an aggregate score of 198. The only other team capable of catching them was the IT & Finance combination of Norrie T Macdonald, Murdo Maclennan, Iain B Macdonald and Dave Gilmour. Well after 9pm, in the gathering gloom, his teammates waited for Dave Gilmour to complete his round. A nett 64 would be enough to give them victory. His chip to the last struck the flag but agonisingly refused to drop. The subsequent putt gave Dave an excellent nett 65 but he and his colleagues had to settle for second place in the team event.
Playing his part in the winning team was Kevin Macleod in his debut senior season. Like all those new to competition, Kevin has discovered that having a scorecard in the hand can play havoc with the mind. His outward half last weekend had a rocky patch and he reached the turn in 53 strokes. By contrast, his inward nine was superb and, despite a double bogey on the last, was completed in just 37 blows. His nett 68 helped towards his team’s winning total and, on this evidence, Kevin is to be avoided at all costs in matchplay competition.
This weekend, the ladies play in the Charity Bowl event while the men compete for the Kenneth Mackenzie Jubilee Trophy, restored this year to its original thirty-six holes. However, the highlight of the weekend, at least for those who enjoy the atmosphere of a foot-stomping ceilidh, is the visit of the inimitable Fergie Macdonald to the Golf Club on Saturday evening. The figures slumped in the corner, unable even to tap a toe, will be those who have just completed two rounds of competition and have evolved into immoveable obstructions.