Different strokes for the folks at Stornoway Golf Club

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Most golfers will appreciate that there are often almost imperceptible signs that it is going to be a good day.

One example might be the golfer who selected a couple of clubs and then left his remaining clubs adjacent to the next tee because he was too lazy to carry his bag the extra few yards to where his ball lay, just short of the Ditch green. Discovering that, instead of a wedge, he had selected a six iron as one of his two clubs, he then compounded his laziness by announcing that he could not be bothered returning to his bag to change clubs.

He then proceeded to take a half-hearted swing at the ball with the wrong club. Pat Aird was the golfer in question; he did offer a sincere apology when his ball skidded across the green and dropped into the hole. Inside, of course, Pat already had an inkling that this would be a good day.

Pat had fifteen stableford points by the halfway point and had doubled that tally by the end of his round.

It proved to be the best score in the Boxing Day competition and, bizarrely, was almost exactly the same points total racked up by Pat when he won the same event last year.

Two golfers were two points adrift of Pat’s total. Iain Macritchie was as consistent as the winner but fell one point short on each half.

Murdo Maclennan had fifteen points at the turn but could not find the elusive birdie on the inward half that would have brought him level with the winning score.

The wild weather that has disrupted island life for the past two weeks put paid to Winter League action for the second time in a fortnight.

The ice and snow of three weeks ago was replaced last weekend by high winds and lightning.

Naturally, once the decision was made to abandon competitive golf for the day, conditions improved somewhat and the sun put in an appearance at midday.

No opportunity can be missed and so, with the Hebrides Car Hire Winter League on hold, a sweep competition was organised for the afternoon.

Scoring was spectacularly low given the conditions: three teams returned scores below nett 40.

Murdie Macdonald and Iain Macritchie reached the turn three over par. A steady inward half was capped by a birdie on the Whins/Avenue for a nett 39.

They may have missed out on a win but, later in the afternoon, Murdie had the consolation of winning the Christmas Raffle and a new set of Taylormade golf clubs.

Dave Macmillan and Andy Murray went one stroke lower. Their solid golf will be invaluable as they attempt to gain points in the coming weeks, defending their Winter League title.

The winners were Lewis Mackenzie and Angus Innes. A birdie on the Cup ensured that they completed their opening six holes in level par.

Having dropped a shot at the start of the inward half, Lewis and Innes completed the remaining five holes in par to seal the win with a nett total of 36.

Whether or not the Winter League resumes before the end of January is open for debate.

There is certainly plenty of opportunity for golf during the New Year holiday period and the course remains in excellent condition for this time of year.

Although there will no doubt be a tribute to him in the Gazette at some point, it would be remiss not to mention the shock and sadness felt at the sudden passing of Roddy (Barts) Macleod.

Roddy was one of those teachers for whom his profession was a true vocation.

He served his whole teaching career in the Nicolson Institute and there are few island households untouched by his influence, through education and career guidance.

During that time, Roddy was at the core of a teaching staff that ensured that the name of the Nicolson Institute was in the vanguard of Scottish education, as a centre of academic and sporting excellence.

After retiring, Roddy threw himself into voluntary and charity work, utilising his considerable talents in organisation and communication.

Our sympathy goes to his family and, in particular, his widow, Anna Margaret, and daughters Janet, Alison and Mairi.

They will feel a huge loss but it should be of some consolation to them that the attendance at his funeral was testimony both to the high regard in which Roddy was held and also to the immense contribution he made to island life.

The ice and snow of three weeks ago was replaced last weekend by high winds and lightning strikes