One of the worst aspects of suffering what might be euphemistically called “a lapse in form” is having to play in the company of other golfers.
The problem is not that others will see just how bad the lapse in form is but rather that they will be dragged down to the level of the worst player in the group.
It is astonishing how watching someone struggling to make contact with the ball suddenly turns playing partners into nervous wrecks; throw in a couple of shanks and the whole group is convulsed with panic.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to report that, while playing golf in the first three competitions of the summer season with all the coordination of a baby giraffe, I have accompanied the competition winner on each occasion. Last Wednesday, it was the turn of Calum Moody.
For a brief spell in the early part of the round, it appeared that Calum had been infected by the seemingly endless variety of atrocious golf shots being sprayed around him.
A lost tee shot on the Heather was followed by a second errant ball, but Calum made a remarkable recovery and walked off the green restricting the damage to a double bogey.
A birdie on the following hole restored his confidence and Calum settled down to steady golf.
He began the inward half with a birdie on the Whins before holing a long putt for eagle on the Caberfeidh.
He finished with nett 66 and took the honours in the first qualifying round for the Caledonian Medal. On a blustery day, with occasional sharp showers, Calum was the only one of over twenty competitors to finish under par.
Andrew Mackenzie, winner of the opening two competitions of the season, had to settle for the runner-up spot.
A solid finish, capped by a birdie on the Cup, for nett 69 was just enough to push Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald into third spot one stroke behind.
The Ladies’ Section opened the season with a stoke play competition, won by Liz Carmichael. Liz had a comfortable margin of victory over second placed Jane Nicolson.
The weekend event was a charity competition for the Cancer Relief Shield. More than fifty participants braved the four seasons: sunshine, hail showers and strong winds.
Only three players posted nett scores under par.
In third place, Pat Aird had a lot of ground to make up after dropping seven shots in the opening two holes.
A string of pars followed, as Pat dropped only one more shot before the halfway point. Four par holes on the inward half were enough to give Pat a nett 67.
Over the past six months, there have been few sightings on the golf course of Norrie “Onions” Macdonald. His first appearance of the summer season demonstrated that lack of competitive golf has not damaged his game in the slightest.
Norrie completed the outward half only two over par, thanks in part to a birdie on the Gunsite.
There were successive birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh, as Norrie pulled his round back to level par. There was one final birdie, on the Foresters, helping Norrie to a gross 69, the lowest score of the day.
That translated into nett 66 and, for a long time, it looked as if that total might win the trophy. However, as daylight began to fade, a familiar face appeared to post nett 65 and take the Cancer Relief Shield.
Andrew Mackenzie had another one of those rounds. In fact, he was so far ahead of the field that he could afford to card triple bogeys on two of the last three holes and still win the trophy by one stroke.
His nett 65 meant that Andrew has now won three out of the first four summer competitions - he was second in the only event he did not win - and has seen his handicap allowance reduced by three stokes, all in the space of ten days.
This weekend, the competition prize is the Lewis Cup. The draws for the matchplay competitions have now been made.
The entry sheet for the May Day inter-club match against Harris Golf Club at Scarista is looking a little forlorn, with Mick Butterworth the only brave soul to volunteer so far for the usual thrashing on the other side of the Clisham.
Hopefully, more names will be added in the next fortnight to avoid the ultimate embarrassment of drafting Hearachs to form a team.