Golf Notes - Wintry league for players

editorial image

Last Saturday, the ferries were cancelled, there was a deluge of rain and the wind was again gusting over 50mph.

The amount of water rushing down the Glen River and flooding onto Stornoway golf course made the latest round of the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League seem hopeless.

Streams cascading across the Manor fairway and Avenue green made both holes unplayable but the drainage on the rest of the course was sufficient to allow a restricted ten holes to be played.

The final Winter League round of the year survived, if only in a slightly unusual format.

The wonderful thing about playing only ten holes is the total score. Teams whose only experience of the 30s is when they are totalling up their scores halfway though a round, suddenly discovered that they could score under 40 gross. More than half a dozen pairings can now make this claim.

Despite the conditions, teams had to posts scores of two under par to earn any points.

Amongst four pairings one stroke lower, on nett 34, Chris Kelso and John Macleod picked up six points to open their Winter League account.

Three teams shared second place on nett 33, each collecting ten points.

Scott Maciver and John Cunningham completed what has been a pretty successful month with a solid round and an excellent opening half.

A par on their opening hole was followed by a birdie on the Ditch and three more par holes, the pair reaching the turn one under par.

With a full six strokes remaining on their handicap allowance, Scott and John were able to relax a little on the inward half.

Both of the other partnerships on nett 33 are challenging at the top of the overall Winter League and, as we reach the halfway point of this campaign, their performances with restricted handicap allowances in challenging conditions are even more impressive.

Neil Rowlands and Darren Beattie had a card of perfect par holes, with the exception of the Dardanelles, where a birdie gave them a gross one under par total for the round. Neil and Darren have also had a successful month, with last Saturday’s ten points adding to the thirteen already bagged in the past fortnight.

Incidentally, their gross score was close to the lowest of the day, the two under par 35 from Griddy Macleod and Kevin Macrae, an achievement that was rewarded with which absolutely no points whatsoever.

David Gray and Gordon Kennedy, playing alongside Scott Maciver and John Cunningham, were not to be outdone when it came to scoring. A birdie on their opening hole, the Miller, was the reason they reached the halfway point one under par.

The inward half was a procession of par holes, proving that despite losing half of their handicap allowance, David and Gordon continue to be a scoring threat every weekend.

The winning pairing, earning maximum points, was that of Iain Morrison and Andrew Reeves.

Iain and Andrew certainly ignited a lethargic Winter League campaign with this victory.

They were the only one of the top four teams to commence their round on the Castle and safely negotiated that test.

Two over par at the turn, Iain and Andrew dropped only one more shot on the inward half to post nett 32.

The results from last weekend have had major repercussions at the top of the overall Winter League leader-board. The new leaders are David Gray and Gordon Kennedy on 45 points, with Neil Rowlands and Darren Beattie jumping three places to the runner-up position one point adrift.

Previous leaders Norrie Mackenzie and Roddy Martin have slipped to third place on 39 points. Pete Middleton and Iain Moir, tied with Kenny “Spoonyan” Maclean and Scott Macaulay on 35 points, complete the top five positions.

Golfers should beware of over-indulging on Christmas Day, because golf restarts on Boxing Day. The Ken MacDonald TeXmas Scramble heralds a short break to Winter League competition.

There is an individual sweep competition on Monday 28th followed by a Texas Scramble on Wednesday 29th. Finally, the Hangover Trophy is awaiting the winner of the stableford event on New Year’s Day.

These competitions are open to all members, with the competition start time being midday for each event.

New members are particularly welcome and may discover that those who have played for many years are not much better than novices.

That is one of the many unexplained mysteries of the game, as we have found out to our great disappointment.