Golf column - Seeing stars in Stornoway

A rainbow across the 17th green in Stornoway this week. Picture by Colin Campbell.
A rainbow across the 17th green in Stornoway this week. Picture by Colin Campbell.

Amidst all the clamour over Donald Trump being eligible to play in the Eilean an Fhraoich Cup, it was almost forgotten that, as a member of Stornoway Golf Club, the President-elect could pass the time between now and his inauguration participating in the Winter League. Perhaps one of the many Clintons in Stornoway would volunteer to be his playing partner.

Donald would be at home with other past US Presidents whose names appear as current Stornoway members: Jefferson, Kennedy, Johnson, Taylor and Grant spring to mind. Trump is not the only celebrity member in Stornoway and there are a few others who come close to being mistaken for celebrities.

I played last weekend alongside Tom Danks. Fully expecting an afternoon with Captain Phillips and Forrest Gump, I was taken aback when I discovered that there was in fact no typo on the start sheet and that Hanks was indeed Danks, and every bit as interesting.

Anyone teaming up with David Gray in Stornoway will not be joined by a talented singer-songwriter but by a primary teacher, from Lochs. Those still searching for a singer-songwriter will again be disappointed by the local David Gilmour, not noted for his singing talents but probably better versed in the rules of golf.

Before this dead horse is flogged too much, we must mention the darling of the tabloids: P Middleton. Sadly, there is no Pippa in Stornoway, although Pete does his best to be as provocatively dressed as possible, roaming the golf course in shorts in all weather conditions. And we have not even touched on comedians Norm Macdonald and Norman Maclean.

David Black spent much of this summer edging closer to scratch golf. It has taken just a few weeks of assistance from his father, Michael, for the pair to hit a plus handicap allowance. The partnership has taken the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League by the scruff of the neck, with victories in Rounds Two and Three adding to the seven points collected on the opening weekend. They now sit on 36 points, a dozen clear of the field.

In similar conditions to the opening round, Round Two saw another glut of low scoring. Nett scores of three under par or better were required to earn any points. Murdie Macdonald and Iain Macritchie again picked up points for a nett 43. One stroke better, David Gray and Gordon Kennedy were also collecting points for the second successive week, while David Campbell and Calum Tom Moody opened their account with nine points for a nett 42.

Michael and David Black posted the lowest gross of the day, with a three under par total that translated into the lowest nett of the day, a six under par nett 41. Andrew Reeves and Iain Morrison matched that score and both earned 14 points apiece.

Last weekend saw similar scoring in considerably damper conditions, a few days of heavy rain combining to make greens and fairways very soft. To make matters more difficult, the crows have once again taken a liking to golf balls, with the more polished variety a firm favourite.

Those teams that swaggered around the golf course to post an impressive nett score of four under par would have been dismayed to discover that their reward was a solitary point.

Three teams collected ten points each on nett 41. For Eddie Mackenzie and Sandy Bruce, it was a welcome start to their Winter League campaign, while for the other two pairings, the points cemented their place at the head of the league table.

Richard Galloway and Cal Robertson are back on track with a two under par gross, after missing out on points in Round Two. They now sit in fourth place in the overall league table.

Andrew Reeves and Iain Morrison added to their excellent performance a fortnight ago with an identical round of two over par gross, lifting them into the runner-up spot overall on 24 points.

The winners, with the lowest gross score of five under par, posted nett 40. David and Michael Black are now well clear of the field but their handicap is gone in the first three weeks of competition. Third position on 19 points in the Winter League table is taken by Willie Macaulay and Donald “Sweeney” Macsween.