It was the end of an era at Stornoway Golf Club last month. After taking up almost every minute of his spare time - and as much of his working time as could be squeezed out of him - for the past two years, Club Captain Murdo O’Brien was officially returned to his family, some of whom probably last saw him in February 2013.
The past two years have seen an increase in membership, improvements to the course and the completion of a comprehensive renovation of club facilities, including the addition of a first floor lounge and balcony. Murdo will be a hard act to follow but his successor, Marten James, is from the same mould of those who roll up their sleeves and lead from the front.
In recent years, Golf Club members have been fortunate in their choice of Captains with a remarkable commitment and vision; the result of that is that the club is in an enviable position in a national climate of struggling sports clubs.
Unfortunately for Marten, one of his first official duties was to close the course as the icy weather blew in yet again.
It was an inauspicious start but once Marten has his cordless hairdryer in operation, the course will be open regardless of the air temperature.
When the course is open, it is clear that the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League is heading towards a photo finish. Successive wins by Steven Bryden and Donald John Mackenzie demonstrated that, with a couple of impressive rounds, a team languishing in the lower reaches of the league can be catapulted to sit within striking distance of the leaders.
To read the rest of the golf notes, pick up a copy of your Stornoway Gazette - on sale now.