Despite having worn shoulder length hair, platform shoes and bell-bottoms as a teenager; grown a beard and sported drainpipe trousers as a student, I never really ventured outwith what was the considered “norm”. Everyone was doing it, so why dare to be different? If it was considered “odd” to stand out, then I was always dressed in the camouflage of the day; be it denim jacket, flares that would have propelled a small schooner, hair like Noddy Holder or shoes that were 90% elevation and 10% perambulation, I tried to blend in every time.
Golfers have always had a habit of being labelled amongst, if the truth be told, some of the worst dressed sportsmen on the planet. Loud checked trousers, diamond patterned sweaters and shoes that made the humblest 28 handicapper look like a member of the Ant-Hill mob, all ensured the major sponsors avoided associating themselves with what looked like a freak-show at a charity shop.
Then along came a dashing dark young Spaniard, a handsome tanned blonde Australian and latterly a genius, stylish, talented though ultimately flawed, Afro-Asian American to change everything. Apart from Kylie Minogue do you know who I’m talking about?
Golf became a global phenomenon thanks to the charisma and talents of a few sporting and cultural icons and big money and high-fashion followed.
Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren , Lacoste, Glenmuir and Tommy Hilfiger all threw their best stylists at the task to ensure that they captured their share of what was a pretty big “pie” and before we knew where we were, along came John Daly and we are nearly back at square one again.
Except we’re not.
Big John is a character; he likes a laugh, isn’t scared to poke a bit of fun at himself (or the establishment) and is considered by a lot of us to be the most “recognisable” golfer on the planet.
Recognisable in that we can identify with the flawed character that lurks within this most likeable of men. Recognisable in that when you throw in the freedom, opportunities and downright fun it must be to earn a living travelling the world playing your favourite sport for very generous reward, we all see a bit of ourselves going off the rails a wee bit. Probably a big bit actually.
When the big fellah dresses in a pair of trousers that remind you of an umbrella at an ice-cream vendor on a Turkish beach, it’s not naff anymore; it’s a bit of fun ,a chance to laugh at yourself, your abilities and demonstrate that golf isn’t all that serious in the big scheme of things.
Might as well do something a bit “out of the ordinary” occasionally even if it doesn’t involve breaking par.
In Stornoway we’re planning a bit of a laugh at this year’s Open week (July 10th-17th) and without revealing too much , there promises to be a bit of a splash of colour about the place come tee-off time on the Saturday morning of qualifying. Many of the more discerning and fashion conscious members are at pains to keep under wraps their “outfits” for the Western Isles qualifiers and it all promises to be a bit of a laugh without detracting from the serious sporting nature of the occasion.
I don’t think my own orange kegs were the catalyst, but there has never been a bandwagon I wasn’t happy to jump on and propel for a bit.
Conservative? Moi? Come and see my wardrobe now!
Garry Murray fashioned a brilliant win in the Wednesday Caledonian medal qualifier ahead of some of the lowest scoring seen this season to date. With Andy MacDonald shooting 66(63), Bryan Geddes 70(64), Murdo “Griddy” MacLeod 69(64) and Colin MacRitchie again breaking 70 gross , 69(68), it was always going to take something a bit special to eclipse Cal Murray’s handicap lowering nett 63 from the afternoon’s play. It’s easy to expect the higher handicapped golfers to shoot the lowest scores as they get “chopped” to an allowance more befitting their talents, but with Cal continuing to improve there will be more low sixties to contend with until he establishes himself in division one.
Garry’s nett 61 was a stunning round which saw two shots disappear from his handicap. Now to consolidate. That’s the hard bit.
Saturday saw the Kenneth MacKenzie Jubilee trophy revert to its two round format and the most dedicated golfers in the club taking on the challenge of 36 holes in very trying conditions. With a stiff breeze and squally showers turning normally difficult holes into severe tests of golf, it wasn’t surprising to see no sub-70 rounds (gross) recorded on the day.
The event, however, is played off full handicap allowance and showing a welcome return to form to win in style was the very nattily attired Paul MacLean. His second round 72(62) for a 131(nett) total pipped Bryan Geddes (132) by a single shot and Cal Robertson (133) by two. A four birdie blitz in round two saw Arthur MacIntosh claim fourth spot ahead of Murdo “Griddy” MacLeod , but the man with the (second) biggest grin on his face was David Black who aced the long (230yd) par-three 17th to finish back in sixth place. This was David’s first hole-in-one and ensured some much needed restoratives were on hand for the bedraggled late starters returning after a wet afternoon/evening’s play. Slainte’ to him.
Anne Galbraith claimed the Ladies Charity bowl with a one shot victory over a resurgent Mairi MacIver. Her second victory in a fortnight and her best score of the year will set Anne up nicely for an assault on some of the “majors” which have eluded her thus far in the ladies section.
This weekend sees the club travel across the Minch to visit Ullapool for the first leg of the annual fixture and a strong squad is expected to make the journey. We now have a nucleus of established and proven winners “on tour” and with newcomer and fresh talent Kevin “Lava” MacLeod bolstering stalwarts Pat Aird and John “Shillegan” Gilles; we will be looking for some away wins to ease the journey home.
Everyone knows how tough the journey home can be.
Everyone meet at the ferry 6:30 am sharp.