The only drawback - and there is only one drawback - of the annual away match against Golspie Golf Club is the length of time taken to make the trip. The early ferry crossing followed by a long bus journey seems to take its toll on some members of the Stornoway team more than others. For reasons that appear difficult to understand, some golfers arrive at the first tee in such a dishevelled and disorientated state that it is difficult for their opponents to avoid the conclusion that this will not be much of a contest.
This year was no different. It is tough enough playing Golspie at the best of times but, with a drop in temperature, a strong northerly wind and sharp showers thrown in, the match was always an uphill battle. In the end, Golspie won the match by a single game. But that does not tell the full story of the game that made all the difference.
So popular is the inter-club competition against Golspie that Stornoway turned up with too many players. One islander, who should remain nameless, was selected at random to play for the opposition, which is always a thankless task. No one wants to be that golfer and the opposition team is always suspicious that he will make little effort to win his game. However, in one of the greatest sporting gestures in the history of the fixture, this year’s lamb to the slaughter took his selection seriously and played some of the best golf of his life. He won his game, which turned out to be the decisive moment of the contest. His name is Norman Morrison.
The Roineaval Trophy, which is the prize awarded to the winning team, will therefore remain on the wrong side of the Minch at least until next year. The contest between the golf clubs has evolved from its origin as a one-off battle to settle a family argument into an annual event that has forged friendship and close links between the clubs. Without doubt, there will already be a healthy number of islanders pencilling in a trip across the Minch on the second weekend of September 2018.
Aside from the hospitality in Golspie, it is worth mentioning that the course itself is a gem and, as we move well into autumn, still in outstanding condition. Anyone travelling through Sutherland, which has a wealth of excellent golf courses, should make the most of any opportunity to play at Golspie.
The season in Stornoway is coming ever closer to its end but there are still prizes to be won. David Campbell won the Flag Competition with an excellent nett 65, which included a birdie on the Caberfeidh. David was two shots clear of Norman Macleod and the pair were the only competitors to better par on a damp day. The undoubted highlight of the event was a hole in one for Magnus Johnson on the Short.
Last weekend, the charity competition for the Lifeboat Spoon attracted healthy numbers despite the clash with the match against Golspie. Norman Macleod, who is just finding his feet in playing competitive golf, put in yet another impressive performance, taking third place with a nett 67. Norman recovered from heavy punishment on the Dardanelles to drop only three shots on the last seven holes. His reward for a good week’s work is a two stroke cut in his handicap.
Colin Gilmour also found trouble on the Dardanelles but, other than that blip, he put together an excellent round of nett 65 to put himself in the runner-up position.
Norrie “Onions” Macdonald opened with a bogey but the was the last dropped shot in his round. Birdies on the Manor, Ard Choille and Caberfeidh gave him a superb gross 66, two under par, which transformed into a winning nett 62.
The Ladies’ Tuesday Medal final was won by Liz Carmichael, adding another glittering prize to her impressive haul this season. Liz finished four strokes clear of runner-up Jane Nicolson.
Roles were reversed in the final qualifying round for the Cancer Relief trophy. Jane picked up 34 stableford points, finishing two points ahead of Liz.
In the Junior section, Alasdair Macmillan won the Ian Fraser Memorial Trophy with a nett 75. Alasdair was also in contention in the Junior Nine Hole Medal competition, where his 20 stableford points secured second place, ahead of third placed Nathan Rogers. James Cunningham won the event with an excellent total of 22 points.