By John Marshall
The overture duly concluded it’s time for act one of the show as they’re off and running at the Isle of Skye Golf Club.
Somewhat belatedly the competitions have commenced and it was to the ladies section that the honour of opening the season belonged.
On a recent blustery Sunday a quartet of quines graced the fairways at Sconser and Sandi Beatson emerged from the pack to steal the headlines on day one.
Playing off her ‘mark’ of 26 two steady halves of 42 and 43 saw her record an opening day handicap-reducing gross score of 85 and an immediate ‘cut’ from 26 to 23 so very well played and what a great start to her golfing season.
Proxime accessit was Donalda Johnston with a gross score of 96 in this the first of five rounds to be played for the Ladies Championship.
Incidentally in this same competition last year Sandi also recorded a victorious, handicap-reducing score of three under the Competitions Scratch Score* for the day. This time round she doubled that.
A few days later and this time a quintet of girls flew in formation round the course again this time competing for the Lochalsh Ladies Stableford prize.
Sandi Beatson, fresh from victory in the first competition of the season, registered her second straight win but on this occasion only by the very narrowest of margins – the dreaded ‘better inward half’ which is a count-back method used to declare a result when scores are tied after 18 holes.
The player with the better score for holes 10-18 is then declared to be the winner.
Apparently, the weather conditions were favourable so it’s difficult to see why the recorded ‘numbers’ were so comparatively poor against the par of the course.
New club member Shona Jackson very nearly started off her campaign with victory but I’m sure that even after one biff she’ll be able to settle in and join our girls in chat, combat and competitions.
By my calculations Sandi’s two loops were 15+16pts whereas Shona’s were 16+15pts and that my friends was how the result was decided.
With the threat of the coronavirus still hanging over us the committee decided at short notice to add a Skye Community Response fundraising competition to the club fixture list to be played over a period of two days with all the entry fees being donated to that worthy local cause.
Players both male and female could submit as many rounds as they liked in the two day period and despite the rather iffy weather several took the opportunity to sharpen their respective games and submit more than one ‘return’.
Playing on day one Robbie Macaskill and Chris Hanley – the latter proudly brandishing a new set of sticks – returned the day’s best scores of 40pts in the Stableford format with the former easing the latter courtesy of the better inward half.
Despite a rocky 6,5 prelude to his round Robert settled well to return loop scores of 37 and 38.
Chris was on fire on the first nine with a fine 34 but the old fella must have been eating too many chocolate bars during lockdown and faded to 38 ‘coming home’.
Donnie Macphee took third place one point in arrears.
Some of the boys returned next day for another biff and another contribution to the charitable cause of choice but it was Hamish Philp, who had apparently been ‘shooting the lights out’ in the winter league, who returned the best score of the occasion – a blistering 44pts.
Had the competition been an official ‘counter’ for handicap purposes Hamish would have graciously received a reduction of a couple of shots from his current mark but the omens for his season look promising.
A distant speck in the rear view mirror was Ryan Macaskill on 36pts with John Maclean weighing into bronze position courtesy of 35pts for his honest endeavour on the day.
Eagle for Kenny
However, pause for drum roll.
The award for ‘the moment’ must go to Club Captain Kenny Macleod who bodaciously eagled the par 5 11th hole – all 492yds of it – and into the prevailing wind too!
One wonders how many stones or sprinkler heads the old boy’s ba’ must have bounced off to propel him to the distant target in three miserly shots.
This is not aggrandisement – it was a truly remarkable effort by the bodach!
The most prestigious competition in the gents fixture list – the Club Championship – is coming soon and there should be better than average competition this time round in pursuit of the title won by Ryan Macaskill in 2019.
One can’t help noticing that the assimilation of the three young lads into the fold last year caused some of the higher single-figure handicappers to emerge from their possible casual slumber of complacency and do something to improve both their game and their handicaps to ward off the challenge from these youngsters.
It worked and not just to the benefit of the players themselves but to the general enhancement of the playing calibre of the gents section of the golf club.
Two qualifying rounds will be played to determine the four successful candidates eligible to compete in knockout matchplay semi-finals in their quest to be crowned Club Champion and subsequently have their name added to the Roll of Honour in the clubhouse – if it’s doors ever swing open again?
Emerging from this prolonged and enforced period of omphaloskepsis and procrastibaking one can confidently predict a healthy turnout of golfing gladiators irrespective of the weather!
CSS or Competition Scratch Score is a reflection of the playing difficulty of the course based on the scores returned with the handicaps represented on any particular day.
Stableford format awards points as follows. Eagle, two under par=4pts: birdie, one under par=3pts, par=2pts and bogey, one over par=1pt.
This form of play is very popular as a very high score on one or two holes doesn’t ruin the player’s chances of winning as would be the case in medal or strokeplay competition.
Generally speaking the better players prefer the former while the rest of us favour the latter!
Par is the score expected to be recorded on the hole by a ‘scratch’ player and is determined by the number of shots the player should take to reach the green then add on two for putts.
A par can be three – one shot plus two putts; four – two shots plus two putts or five – three shots plus two putts.
Sun 21st June, Ladies Championship, Round One: 1. S Beatson 85(26) nett 59; 2. D Johnston 96(18)78.
Tues 23rd June, Lochalsh Stableford: 1. S Beatson 31pts (bih); 2. S Jackson 31pts; 3. J Mackinnon 28pts.
Tues 23rd/Wed 24th June,Skye Community Response Fundraiser: Best scores, H Philp 44pts; R Macaskill 40pts(bih); C Hanley 40pts; D Macphee 39pts.