By the time this week’s Stornoway Gazette reaches the newsstands, Stornoway golf course will have shrunk to twelve holes and the lush grass of teeing areas will have been replaced by mats constructed of artificial turf.
The Winter League begins this weekend.
Golfers who have spent the last six months trying to excuse dreadful scores can now deflect all blame onto a partner.
That may not be the essence of team sport but having a Winter League partner who, for example, cannot putt provides the perfect explanation for the inability to score well.
There has been a healthy entry for winter golf to date. However, it has to be stressed that a roll call is still to be taken of those who left the island for the inter-club match against Golspie.
There are often casualties. On this occasion, the main casualty was the fixture itself; a slight mix-up in Golspie meant that there was no home team to play. As a result, the Stornoway team members had to play against one another and, needless to report, that confirmed Murdo O’Brien as one of the few club captains never to experience defeat in an inter-club competition.
The only other reported casualty was Kenny “Wang” Macleod, whose celebratory hurling of his putter in the air after securing a par left the putter lodged 30 feet above ground, stuck in the branches of a tree. Kenny’s agile recovery of the club saw him rechristened as Kenny “Wangutan” Macleod.
In the makeshift competition, for the “wee” Ryder Cup, the Stornoway under 40 team beat their older colleagues by the odd match in seven. The stableford competition was won by Scott Macaulay, who finished one point ahead of Alasdair Gillies.
The last of the summer matchplay competitions have been decided. Stewart Macqueen defeated Michael Black on the eighteenth hole to win the Bain Cup.
The usual combination of some decent golf and fortunate ricochets helped John Gillies and John R Gillies to victory in the Consolation Cup.
Griddy Macleod and Kevin Macrae once again had to adjust to battling opponents with a double digit handicap allowance; the match was eventually decided on the first extra hole. To give some indication of how punishing the handicap system can be, Kevin and Griddy gave away a stroke on each of six successive holes in the middle of the round.
Despite reeling off six pars, they lost three of those holes and halved the others.
The Jackson Medal final produced some outstanding performances, although few of those were by qualifiers. Ian Macleod birdied the Whins, Ranol and Cup in a superb two under par inward half. His nett 63 took him one shot clear of a trio of golfers.
Kenny John Macleod recovered from being four over par after two holes to record his season’s best score.
Likewise, Murdo Maclennan had the rarest of birdies, on the testing opening hole, and took a stroke off his handicap. Arthur Macintosh has reduced his handicap by two strokes in the last month, with performances like his one under par outward half in the Jackson Medal final playing a part in an end of season renaissance.
Scott Macaulay just squeezed into the top twenty but that proved to be enough, his nett 70 winning him the Jackson Medal, with Darren Beattie two shots adrift in second place.
The Lifeboat Spoon was won by Calum Tom Moody in his first competitive outing.
That says a great deal about either the handicapping system or, more likely, the level of competition. Calum had a superb nett 63, which included birdies on the Manor and Foresters.
Unfortunately for Calum, with form like this, he will not see a handicap of twenty four again for many years.
Willie Macaulay took second spot with a nett 64; his round had five birdies and, regrettably, five double bogeys. Ken MacDonald has a long memory but even he would have struggled to recall his last under par score.
An excellent nett 66 gave him third place, edging out Dave Gilmour.
Liz Carmichael won the Cancer Relief stableford competition, four points ahead of Ann Galbraith. Ann had the consolation of winning the Saturday Medal final.
Belated congratulations go to Mark Morrison, who finished one stroke clear of Adam Longdon in winning the Ian Fraser Memorial Trophy.
This Saturday is the Prizegiving Dinner, with all members encouraged to book in advance.
The speaker is former caddie Paul Stevens and it promises to be a memorable evening.