Professional help lowers scores

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The recent visit of PGA professional Martin Piggott for a series of coaching lessons demonstrates that there are quite a number of local golfers needing help. Fortunately, many of them recognise this and there was no shortage of desperate locals queuing for a miracle cure.

The cure came in various guises, ranging from slight adjustment of grip to more radical tinkering with backswing and the most fundamental lesson of all: “You are facing in the wrong direction”. Confidentiality prevents naming the red-faced golfer, but he should be fairly easy to spot on the tee.

One recurring piece of advice is the importance of perseverance, particularly through adversity. For some of us, sadly, this is the only advice we have ever remembered.

Donald John (DJ) Macleod was the epitome of that spirit in the latest qualifying round for the Centenary Medal. Having posted a superb weekend score and subsequently suffered disqualification, DJ simply turned up in midweek and continued his excellent golf. His 40 point haul was only bettered by one other competitor.

Paul Maclean plays little golf in the winter but has found his form quickly, following up a weekend nett 67 with a midweek 41 stableford points. Paul birdied the Manor and finished with nine consecutive par holes to win the Centenary Medal qualifier.

There was much more wind at play during the opening round of the Jackson Medal competition, but scoring was still remarkably low, as participants adapted to ever-improving greens. From a field of more than 50, a dozen competitors made par or better.

The runner-up was John ‘Shillegan’ Gillies – the golfer rather than the writer – with a typical rollercoaster round. A solid start over the opening four holes and a similarly solid finish gave John a superb nett 64.

The winning total of nett 61 was posted by Murdo Alex Macleod, despite being three over par after two holes.

A string of pars put him back on track and a birdie on the Redan helped redress the balance. Back to back birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh underlined an outstanding round.

The low scoring continued into the competition for the Bain Morrison Shield, with a quarter of the field under par. John Cunningham put together a fine inward half, with five par holes, to post nett 63 for third place.

Scott Munro was runner-up with his lowest ever gross score and his nett total of 63 came within a stroke of the winning total.

In his debut round of the new season – his first competitive outing since mid-September last year – Chris M Graham dusted off the cobwebs in some style.

An outward half that used up only six of his two dozen handicap strokes set him up for an outstanding score.

Despite a couple of valiant efforts to collapse, including a triple bogey on the Cup, Chris recovered his nerve for a nett 62 and his first piece of silverware for some time.

The Healthworkers Charity Trophy was the weekend prize and, once again, a good quarter of the field was under par.

Griddy Macleod has played some excellent golf already this season but somehow struggled to close out the final few holes.

In his last two outings, Griddy was level par on the fifteenth and sixteenth tees respectively, before dropping shots at the final hurdle.

Last weekend, an eagle on the Ranol and birdie on the Caberfeidh, set him up one under par on the sixteenth tee.

A bogey on the Cup would have had nerves jangling but Griddy made par on the penultimate hole and birdied the last for a memorable gross 67 (nett 63) to take third place.

Martin Flett made a very near perfect debut round of the season. A double bogey on the Dardanelles threatened to unravel a solid performance, but birdies on the Caberfeidh and Ditch put that right as Martin coasted home for a nett 62 and second spot.

The Trophy winner was Kenny “Spoonyan” Maclean. A birdie on the Manor was the highlight of a promising outward half blighted by a double bogey on the ninth.

However, the rest of the round was close to perfect. A bogey on the Ranol was matched by a birdie on the Ditch and the other seven holes were completed in par for a nett 61 and victory.

Ann Galbraith picked up her first victory of the season in the midweek qualifying round for the Tuesday Medal competition. Mary Joyce took second spot, four strokes adrift.