After a fortnight without golf, the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League was resurrected last weekend. In contrast to the high winds, frost and rain that have plagued the islands for weeks, last Saturday gave a glimpse of spring, with scudding clouds and glorious sunshine throughout the day.
Even with teams coming to terms with ever decreasing handicaps, scoring was low and nett 46, two under par, was required to earn points.
One of those on nett 46 was Kevin “Lava” Macleod, celebrating his thirtieth birthday in style.
His round was even more impressive, given that Kevin was playing alone, deserted on his birthday by his partner Norman Morrison.
Another golfer picking up three points for nett 46 was Michael Black, whose teammate David Black is looking to start another partnership off the course.
His engagement has not affected his golfing prowess so far; marriage, of course, will be a different proposition.
Allan “Biddley” Macleod and Al “Greens” Macleod took third place on nett 44 with a round that included only four par holes.
Birdies on the Redan and Short took them to the halfway point one under par, a bogey on the Whins undoing some of the good work.
Allan and Al began the inward half with a bogey, but immediately redressed the balance with a birdie on the Ditch.
There was another bogey on the Heather before the pair finished strongly with birdies on their final two holes, the Memorial and Cup/Foresters.
Their performance earned Allan and Al nine points, but at a cost; their handicap allowance disappeared entirely.
Two teams shared first place, picking up fourteen points apiece. Peter Dickie and Stewart Macdonald opened their round with back to back bogeys and a third on the Cup/Foresters put them three over par at the turn.
The inward half was a different prospect. Successive birdies on the Short and Whins helped Peter and Stewart to nett 43.
Arthur Macintosh and Pat Aird negotiated their outward have with only one bogey, before picking up another on the first hole of the inward half five. A birdie on the Short reduced the deficit and a second on their final hole, the Manor/Caberfeidh, gave Arthur and Pat a gross round of level par and a share in the winning total.
Amongst the four partnerships on nett 45 were David Gray and Gordon Kennedy. The seven points thy collected were priceless in terms of the overall Winter League leader board.
David and Gordon Kennedy are now in first place on 52 points, seven ahead of Darren Beattie and Neil Rowlands.
Garry Murray and Eddie Rogers remain in third place on 44 points, four ahead of Ken Galloway and John R Gillies.
Three teams share fifth spot on 39 points. DJ and Donnie Macleod have moved up to join Donald “Sweeney” Macsween and Mark Morrison and Norrie Mackenzie and Roddy Martin.
Kenny “Spoonyan” Maclean and Scott Macaulay lie eighth on 38 points, with Magnus and Murdo Johnson one point behind. The top ten is completed by Pete Middleton and Iain Moir, who are tied on 35 points with Marten James and Huw Lloyd.
The Golf Club AGM was held last Monday, with Marten James and Pete Middleton re-elected as Captain and Vice-Captain respectively.
Andrew Reeves was elected as Secretary and a number of new faces have joined the Committee.
Gordon Kennedy, Stewart Macqueen, Colin Gilmour and Robert Rankin, amongst others, have sacrificed their time and energy to assist the Club and will now become accustomed to being accosted in the street about things they had no idea they were responsible for.
Despite the difficulties that golf clubs nationally are experiencing, Treasurer Iain Macdonald was able to present the AGM with a relatively healthy set of accounts.
The Club is investing in lighter, more mobile machinery to protect the course; the incessant rain of last spring and summer which saturated greens and fairways prevented heavier equipment from being used.
Hopefully, with greens staff able to operate lighter machinery in challenging weather conditions, course maintenance will be greatly enhanced.
Off the course, the Club has completed renovations to create a flexible facility for functions of all shapes and sizes, with an extended kitchen suitable for commercial use.
The huge commitment to junior golf in Stornoway, led by Donald John Smith and Eddie Rodgers, increased junior membership to around sixty young people and has been recognised by a nomination as Junior Club of the Year at the Scottish Golf Awards next month.