Not waving golf clubs but drowning

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It can only be a matter of time before island golf is classed as a water sport.

For those taking up golf in Stornoway, the most important considerations are not the most suitable clubs to buy or the best golf balls to use but, instead, finding shoes that keep the feet dry and waterproofs that are actually waterproof in the Hebrides.

Last Saturday, participants in the Leukaemia Research charity competition who clambered out of bed at an unearthly hour may have escaped the worst of the rain. By mid-afternoon, the skies were emptying again and the rain fell steadily for hour after hour. At least one pair of guaranteed waterproof golf shoes - limited warranty of course – let in enough water to float a small boat.

The one saving grace making golf as enjoyable as ever was that it was not blowing a gale and the weekend scoring reflected that. Around one third of the field equalled or bettered par.

Seven players posted nett 66. Among them were Gordon Shand, ending his short break in Lewis on a high note with a one over par inward half, and Al “Greens” Macleod, returning after injury to equal the lowest gross score of the day (71).

Allan “Biddley” Macleod was also there, continuing his form from the Island Games, as was Marten James, reversing the seemingly inexorable rise in his handicap that commenced with his becoming Club Captain.

It was Pete Middleton who edged out the others to take fourth place. The highlight of his nett 66 was a strong finish sparked by back to back birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh.

Third place went to Angus Innes on nett 65. Angus could well become one of those golf club reviewers who claim to have knocked three strokes off their handicap in a week thanks to the magical powers of a new set of clubs.

In Angus’ case, the claim would be true: seven days ago, his handicap was 12 and he is now a single figure handicap golfer. Not even the late Kim Jong Il, North Korean dictator and the planet’s self-proclaimed greatest golfer, made that extravagant claim.

Meanwhile, in the runner up position, Neil Morrison was halting a long upward trend in his handicap. Three over par at the turn, a birdie on the Whins and another on the Ditch gave Neil a nett 65 total.

The winner was Kenny Cunningham, comfortably clear of the field on nett 62. Kenney even had the luxury of carding a triple bogey in an otherwise virtually flawless round.

The midweek qualifying round for the Centenary Medal also had its fair share of low scores. David Black found himself in third place with 39 stableford points.

David was one over par after four holes but a remarkably steady performance from then on, including his usual glut of birdies on the Heather, Redan, Caberfeidh and Ditch, helped him see out the remaining fourteen holes in three under par for a gross 66.

Michael Jefferson picked up two birdies, on the Heather and Short, in his outward half, but it was the consistency of a birdie free inward half that helped him to 42 points and second place.

One point better was competition winner Malky Macrae. With 19 stableford point on the opening nine holes, Malky was going well and, helped by the bonus of a birdie on the Ranol, he picked up another 24 points on the inward half. Both Malky and Michael qualify for the end of season final.

The Ladies’ midweek competition was a charity qualifier for the Cancer Relief trophy. Liz Carmichael was the runner up and the winner was Jane Nicolson on an excellent 37 stableford points.

Jane Nicolson was again the winner in the weekend qualifying round for the Saturday Medal, with Ann Galbraith in second spot.

The Junior section played for the Enco Shield. Kenneth Macleod was in third place but the runner up and winner put on a stunning display. Mark Morrison battled back after a quadruple bogey on the Dardanelles to post nett 63, two strokes adrift of winner Kyle Munro.

Kyle had an outstanding opening half and, despite understandable nerves in the final few holes, he held on to win the trophy.

This Friday (24th) sees the visit of Ullapool Golf Club for an inter-club match, while the main weekend competition is the County Championship being held at Askernish, South Uist. In Stornoway, the Kenneth Mackenzie Jubilee Trophy is the prize.