In the good old days, novice golfers would submit scorecards for three rounds of golf. The total number of strokes taken would be in excess of 300. They would then be given a handicap of around 28 on the understanding that, playing under the pressure of competitive golf with all the involuntary twitches and trembling of the joints that entails, they would be unlikely to break 100 for at least a year. In some cases, the year might stretch into a decade. The system worked well – until recently.
Kenny Macleod was awarded his first handicap two months ago. For a few weeks, he maintained the guise of being a golfer who could not break 100, although his swing was sending out different signals. Two weeks ago, he gave up the pretence with a round of nett 67. Last week, he had the temerity to win a competition – in some style.
Not only did Kenny pick up a birdie on the Miller on his way to winning the final qualifying round of the Caledonian Medal competition, but his nett 64 took his handicap down to 26. He at least had the decency to double bogey the final two holes to prevent the embarrassment of a nett score under 60. As is the usually the case in golf, however, every silver lining has its cloud. For Kenny, that cloud comes in the shape of an empty wallet, thanks to the purchase of new clubs and bag in an attempt to lower his handicap still further. It is the start of a slippery slope and, if the new equipment fails to deliver, Kenny will join the long line of eternal optimists investing in golf improvement manuals, specialised clothing and even performance enhancing shoes and socks.
Runner up spot in the competition was taken by the resurgent Allan Macleod, who pulled his handicap back to 8 just when it seemed inevitable that it would reach double figures. His nett 64 looked unlikely after three holes but, with the help of a birdie on the Heather, Allan stood at four over par at the halfway point. He dropped only one shot on the inward half, thanks in part to a birdie on the Cup.
Wet and windy conditions appear to suit Cal Robertson and he underlined his return to form with a nett 65 on what was the wettest day of the year. In fact, as much rain fell in the space of seven hours as had fallen during the whole of the month of May. Coincidentally, May was the month in which Cal managed to make buffer zone only twice.
Last Saturday was a comparatively dry day but, somehow, Cal continued his excellent form with a nett 64 in the charity event for the Western Isles Kidney Patients’ Association (WIKPA) trophy. His remarkably steady golf was exemplified by an outward half that comprised eight consecutive pars followed by a birdie on the ninth. Further birdies on the Dardanelles and Foresters gave Cal the lowest gross score of the day and victory in the competition by one stroke.
Angus “Stoodie” Mackay had his first handicap award ten days ago. Whilst Kenny Macleod showed the decency to wait for a few weeks before reducing his handicap, Angus simply tore up the book of etiquette for golfing hackers and posted a nett 65. The highlight of his round was a birdie on the Ditch and the fact that his card also boasted an 11 on the Dardanelles suggests that his new handicap of 23 will do little to deter Angus from another low score in the coming weeks. Angus secured second position in the competition, two strokes ahead of Kenny Murray.
In the Junior Section, Michael Jefferson made a winning return after injury with a nett 65 in the Edwin Aldred Trophy competition. A birdie on the Memorial helped him to a two stroke victory over Adam Longdon. For Adam, there was the consolation of an eagle on the Manor.
The ladies’ Saturday Medal qualifying competition was won by Ann Galbraith, who finished five strokes ahead of runner up Gill Chadwick.
Preparations are well advanced for the trip to play Golspie Golf Club in mid September. There are still places available and enquiries should be made to the Match and Handicap convener.