Isle of Skye golf: tricky conditions for Campbell memorial

By John Marshall

The Iain Campbell Memorial Trophy is played in memory of the younger son of the Campbell family who sadly passed away in 2009.

A team ‘scramble’ competition, a format Iain very much enjoyed, has been a fixture on the list since that untimely event. It has maintained the Sconser link between the family and the golf club whose course is built on land originally leased to the club by Iain’s father in 1964 before being purchased outright by the club twenty years later.

This year’s configuration was a two-man scramble – the handicap rules for which would have disconcerted even Stephen Hawking’s mental capacity. But undaunted a decent turnout of members trotted along to the course to try their luck and pay their respects.

The winners were Team Shenanigans with Alex Munro partnering Lloyd Browett to victory in a close encounter of the windy kind – 20mph being a conservative estimate.

Runners-up were Team Deeside with the father and son combination of Jim and Ross Cumming who did just enough to hold off a challenge from Andrew Long and Chris Hanley.

With the continuing unpleasant weather conditions and the unusual number of only two players in the team instead of the usual three or four there were many more bogeys than would normally be expected but the winner’s total of four birdies might well have made the difference as the other two podium position teams each recorded one fewer.

All three teams birdied the first hole but the eventual victors struck gold again at the fifth, twelfth and fourteenth holes.

Apparently, according to a ‘source’ close to the action the secret was to play ‘knockdown’ shots keeping the ball under the wind and not allowing it to soar birdlike into the skies above.

The two’s Lloyd and Alex recorded on holes twelve and fourteen respectively bear testament to this. Their two nines were 34/35 – a great effort considering that Lloyd was by some considerable distance the highest handicapped player at the sharp end of proceedings – good effort there boys.

Team Deeside as already mentioned birdied the first hole and followed up with two more on the eighth and eighteenth holes with their loops being steady at 35/35.

That was just good enough to ease out Team Long/Hanley on the better inward half.

Andrew and Chris in addition to birdieing the first hole also repeated the trick at the eighth and ninth holes before their well ran dry and they signed for laps of 33/34.

On reflection then it seems to have been yet another difficult golfing day in March-like weather but from the reports I’ve had it was a competition enjoyed by all the participants despite of the conditions.

Game’s a bogey

Next day there was a Bogey competition on offer for those in need of a double dose of competitive golf during the weekend.

In this format the player plays the course in matchplay and will be ‘up’ or ‘down’ versus the course at the conclusion of the round.

For instance a player receiving a stroke, because of his handicap allowance at the first hole – a par four – scores a four so with the handicap stroke deployed the player has a nett three so is consequently said to be ‘one up’ versus the course at that point.

Like the Stableford format the Bogey makes allowances for one or two ‘big numbers’ on the way round the course and unlike medal/strokeplay a blemish or two doesn’t necessarily ruin the day’s golfing experience.

Chris Hanley cast aside his partner from the previous day to surge to a solo victory finishing three up on the course.

Out in 37 shots with birdies at both eight and nine Chris came home in one shot less for a well-earned victory.

Some steady play, good putts and some good up-and-downs to save par apparently was his recipe for success.

Bob Beatson was the runner-up and he will be relieved to read that there are actually two golfers in the Beatson household following on from the strong start his wife Sandi has made in the ladies section this season.

Honourable mention #1 for Andrew Long who with a troublesome back injury-apparently received while unsuccessfully attempting to extricate himself from John the Green’s well-nourished tiger rough didn’t do himself justice on the day.

But he still reminded his playing companions that he could golf his ball by recording three birdies towards the conclusion of his day’s work.

Honourable mention #2 to Alasdair ‘Starsky’ Campbell, who would have secured third place in the competition but later in the day, reflecting on his electronic scorecard submission (a necessary requirement under current Covid 19 protocols) flagged up a scoring error to the committee which left them with no choice but to disqualify him.

Well done Alasdair. It’s good to know that the spirit of honourificabilitudinity is still alive in our sport all the way from ‘our man in Sconser’ to John Rahm and his unfortunate recent indiscretion at Jack’s place?

First Minister’s Quaich

The ladies came out to play for the First Minister’s Quaich on a day when they shared the gusty weather with their male counterparts.

It was entirely appropriate that Jill Mackinnon was the winner of the coveted trophy because ‘back in the day’ when Alex Salmond was ‘in charge’ of our country he asked Jill and her husband Chris if he could join in with their game at Sconser.

Jill Mackinnon

He had been on official duty at Sabhal Mor Ostaig earlier in the day so relaxed in the evening with a round of golf.

Jill didn’t miss the opportunity to make her ‘suggestion’ and another trophy was donated to the Isle of Skye Golf Club!

Jill’s two nines were decent although a slow start made room for improvement on the final lap of the track.

Halves of 47 and 43 meant she more or less played to her handicap in the testing conditions.

Long time adversary Donalda Johnston was ‘best of the rest’ albeit some distance in arrears of the winner on this occasion although a cheeky wee birdie on the tenth hole might have educed a wee smile?

Dewar Rosebowl

The men’s midweek competition was the first round of the Dewar Rosebowl and attendances for competitions are starting to wane now as the players are reporting signs of webbing in the foot area as a result of continuing unpleasant weather.

John ‘Greens’ informed me just the other day that there has not been one single dry working day at Sconser since 9th July!

Another wet Wednesday then and only a modest number of players gathered throughout a day when the scoring was very good indeed.

Top of the table after round one is Robert Macaskill who signed for two nines of 34 and 37 which converted to 44 Stableford points and a clear lead in the competition at the halfway stage.

The well-crafted first nine was way below what he would have been expected to score off his handicap but a great effort in the damp but wind and midge-free conditions.

Steady play for the second nine saw his handicap reduced too-good effort there.

Lying in second place is Jonathon Mackinnon who started with a decent first lap before igniting the after-burners and powering home in a miserly 33 blows – excellent stuff young man.

Not to be outdone in the house of Mackinnon father Chris too hit a bit of form with smooth 34 biffs required going out before slipping just a touch coming home in 39 to join his son on 40pts.

Two birdies there too for the old fella!

Honourable mention #3 for Archie Macaskill who although he didn’t merit a podium finish on this occasion still showed a bit of skill by notching a hat trick of birdies during his round.


The gents and the ladies will both be playing medal competitions this weekend but Friday 31st July offers another outing for the auld yins as there’s a Seniors Mixed Stableford competition on offer on the day.

Presumably there’ll be another beanfeast of cakes, biscuits and buns for the golden oldies – al fresco and socially distanced of course?

Will reigning champion Ally ‘Doc’ Mackenzie launch another raid from over the water to defend his title and add yet more guerdons to those he purloined on his last visit?

Nearly 20 played last time out so let’s hope this dreadful spell of weather relents to allow our elders and betters the opportunity to display their skills.



Sat 18th July, Iain Campbell Memorial Trophy.

1.Team Shenanigans-Alex Munro and Lloyd Browett 69(7)62; 2.Team Deesiders-Jim Cumming and Ross Cumming 70(7) 63bih; 3. Team Long/Hanley-Andrew Long and Chris Hanley 67(4)63.

Sun 19th July, Bogey

1.C Hanley 3up; 2.B Beatson 1up.

Wed 22nd July, Dewar Rosebowl, Round One.

1.R Macaskill 44pts; 2.J Mackinnon 40pts bih; 3.C Mackinnon 40pts.


Sun 19th July, First Ministers Quaich.

1.J Mackinnon 90(22)68; 2.D Johnston 98(18)80.