Stornoway seeking new members

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The level of hot air generated to bring Scotland its highest February temperatures last week might in the past have been attributed to a Stornoway Golf Club AGM. While the Club’s recent AGM did coincide with unseasonal warmth throughout the country, the temperature at the meeting was mild in comparison.

The new Captain, Andrew Reeves, and Vice-Captain Calum Moody were elected unanimously. Both have a clear commitment to the Club and they have already invested a lot of time and effort in making the Club attractive to potential members. The main discussion at the AGM centred around the need to increase playing membership in Stornoway. Although there is healthy participation in summer competitions and in excess of eighty golfers playing during the winter, there is always room for more, particularly in the Ladies’ and Junior sections.

Anyone interested in taking up golf, or simply looking for an opportunity of a taster session, should contact the Club. There are a variety of membership packages and the new Club Committee is keen to encourage anyone attracted to the game.

There will be a number of competitions organised during the spring and summer months designed to accommodate returning, new and aspiring golfers.

Hopefully, the benefits of walking in the fresh air of a natural environment, developing skills in ball striking, distance control and putting, and the camaraderie of the course will persuade islanders to take up the game.

Playing the game can become addictive: inspiring, rewarding, frustrating, and infuriating in almost equal measure. And the health benefits of the sport are undeniable as those still walking the fairways in their eighties will attest.

Over six decades separates the youngest from the oldest participants in the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League. The latest round was played out in high winds on a very mild Saturday.

There were a number of impressive performances but, without doubt, the most impressive feature was the scoring. Despite the marked deterioration in conditions on the previous Saturday, last weekend had almost identical results. Once again, nett totals under par were required to earn any points.

Ahead of a number of teams on nett 44, Magnus and Murdo Johnson took the runner-up spot with nett 43, three under par. They opened in some style, with birdies on their first two holes, the Avenue and Dardanelles. Another birdie on the Manor brought them to three under par at the halfway point. That was how they finished, having reeled off six straight par hole in the inward half. Their stunning round, the best of the day, was also their nett score, courtesy of a zero handicap allowance. For Magnus and Murdo, the reward of a dozen points was to have a huge impact on the overall Winter League standings.

The most notable of the those sharing third place on nett 44 was Peter Grant; he had a lot on his mind last weekend, none of it related to Winter League. His idea of a short golfing trip to the East Coast in early April has gradually mushroomed into a full-blown Stornoway Golf Club visit to Aberdeenshire. Peter is now grappling with the logistical problem of squeezing some very large golfers, their clubs and their luggage into a mini-bus. Add to that the headache of arranging the itinerary and accommodation and it is easy to see that the absence of his Winter League partner at the weekend was the least of his concerns. The difficulty of playing without a partner was compounded by the fact that he was accompanied by Murdie Macdonald, whose on course equipment is more like a drinks cabinet than a golf bag. Against all odds, Peter swanned around the course without a care in the world.

David and Michael Black used up their entire handicap allowance in their opening two holes. Admittedly, their handicap was only two strokes but there was still a mountain to climb.

To win points, a bogey free ten holes would not be enough; couple of birdies might be enough. The first birdie arrived before the halfway point, on the Memorial, but that was just the beginning. A birdie on the Redan was followed by the crucial birdie on the Whins, which edged David and Michael clear of the field.

Magnus and Murdo Johnson now lead the Winter League table on 55 points, eight clear of Pat Aird and Arthur Macintosh. Colin Gilmour and John Morrison move up to third on 43 points, one ahead of Ken Galloway and partner.