What’s in the golf bag?

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It has long been accepted wisdom in golfing circles that the larger the golf bag, the better the golfer. Everyone knows that you cannot hope to shoot a decent score if you are carrying a half set of clubs in a pencil bag. Were it not for the rule restricting the number of clubs to fourteen, many players would need to be towing some sort of trailer to accommodate all their equipment.

Our bags contain a range of wedges of varying degrees of loft, none of which we can use with any degree of confidence. Some of us carry more than one driver in our bag; this is a club we use a maximum of fifteen times in a round but it is considered vital to have two at hand.

Yet there is always a nagging feeling that we may not need so many clubs. Perhaps we should leave behind the fairway wood, which is a misnomer anyway since we cannot use it on the fairway and it is not made of wood. Ditching some wedges may be a good idea too, as they all send the ball the same distance and are only differentiated by the size of divot we manage to gouge out when using them.

In their place, the empty slots in our golf bags could be filled with a telescope, a walking stick and a couple of umbrellas, since we are in Stornoway.

There have been rumours that Chris Kelso once posted nett par after a round in a three club competition and that Liz Carmichael’s lowest score around the course in Stornoway was recorded in a three club and putter contest. Another name has now been added to the list.

Robert Rankin has been suffering lately, and his patience with his unresponsive clubs finally snapped during the final round of the competition for the Jackson Medal. From the seventh hole onwards, Robert used only a 7 iron and a putter. Incredibly, he was only four over par for the next five holes. Thankfully, for the good of the name of the game, there were others out on the course who proved the value of having a few more clubs at their disposal.

Peter Grant was drifting along for the opening half of his round but, from the second hole of the inward half, Peter reeled off six successive pars. Despite a slight stumble over the finishing line, Peter posted nett 65 for fourth place.

One stroke better, Pat Aird made his impact on the outward half. Four par holes and four birdies is impressive for an eighteen handicapper and Pat consolidated on the back nine for his best round in three months.

Chris Shields birdied the seventh hole, but it was the inward half that hauled him up into runner-up spot. Five par holes and four bogeys is a remarkably steady performance for someone returning to golf this summer. Chris recorded nett 63 with easily the best of his half dozen outings this year.

The best score was recorded by Colin Gilmour, a superb nett 62. Conditions were excellent, with strong sunshine and hardly a breath of wind. However, heavy rain this week had certainly dampened the course and slowed the greens. Only seven of a field of almost forty competitors managed to beat par.

Colin played within his handicap on the opening half but once he turned for home, he turned on the style. A birdie on the Caberfeidh may have been the highlight, but a string of par holes resulted in a nett total of 62.

None of the first four had actually qualified for the final and so the Jackson Medal, the final prize on offer in this summer season, was won, fittingly, by the club’s most impressive golfer of the year, Cal Robertson. Cal threw in a few birdies, on the Manor, Ranol and Miller, in matching the lowest gross score of the day and a nett 66.

David Black, another who has had a memorable season, took second place, his gross round of level par equalling the lowest of the day. David remains agonisingly short of a zero handicap, but there is no argument about him being the Club’s most accomplished golfer.

Cal’s superb summer was underlined by his winning of the Galloway Aggregate Trophy, which is awarded to the player recording the lowest nett total over six rounds. Cal’s aggregate was 24 under par, just one stroke clear of Eddie Rogers and David Black.