After a delayed start the 2022 Isle of Skye golf club season finally gets underway on Friday the 8th April with a charity stableford competition raising funds for Kyleakin Connections It is day one of a three day event with the club offering prizes on each day
Pandemic protocols have required all golf clubs to implement a traceability booking system but gradually and timeously restrictions are being relaxed. Prior to the ravages of Covid the Isle of Skye Golf Club has always promoted the drawing of lots to determine the day’s playing companions in competition play. This procedure encourages, nay dictates the social intercourse of members who may be virtually unknown to one another although they may well have ‘met’ on the course multiple times. It is good for the camaraderie and the fabric of the club.
More importantly though a ‘draw’ allows an opportunity for the dissemination of the rules of the game, etiquette and other procedures that may be peculiar to any golf club under the heading of ‘local rules’. The draw format allows for this to be experienced, discussed and where appropriate implemented during the three hours or so of random companionship and the playing of the round.
A chef’s selection of experienced players, newcomers to the game and/or competitive play, rules buffs, quiet boys, noisy boys plus an assortment of playing skills all adds to the fun for the newcomers and less able players. It offers an opportunity to see at close hand just how the better exponents of the game at Sconser go about their business.
Why not get together with a pal or two and avail yourselves of top quality coaching at Sconser in your own time with our very own Roving Professional Golfer Craig Lee?
Craig will be conducting his first junior coaching session of 2022 at the club on Friday 1st April at 3pm with a further session the following day(Saturday 2nd April) specifically aimed at adult beginners. Details are currently available on the club’s new website.
A cursory glance at the men’s fixture list shows that both care and a nod to the past have been deployed in it’s reimagination with several competitions throughout the season retaining the long-established draw format. This procedure is particularly important for those golfers who are not natural members of a small group of friends, colleagues or work associates-they may even be new members recently come to the club.
The majority of competitions though will continue to favour the booking of tee-times and the ‘play with your pals’ procedure which became both de rigueur and extremely popular, particularly with the better players during the last couple of very nasty, unsatisfactory and highly unpleasant years of the pandemic.
The continuation of the booking system’s main and ongoing advantage is that it allows players to compete not just in their friendship groups but also in ‘pairings’ of similar playing ability thus avoiding the likes of ‘yours truly’ who is still well capable of playing some poor golf -and who also likes a wee chat on the way round! You can always tell who has the dubious ‘pleasure’ of partnering JM by the sight of the distraught, ashen-faced ‘unfortunate’ being consoled by his mates!
This opening event is seen as an overture to the season proper and will be open to both ladies and gents. It is a Saturday-only competition the significance of which will become apparent as the season unfolds as some fairly major changes have taken place in an attempt to refresh the competitive calendar.
This one-day-only fixture will be followed next week by a three-day Stableford competition in aid of Kyleakin Connections. Weekend number three will illustrate the way ahead in the gents section as the Saturday will see the combatants in action for the Anniversary Quaich while next day there’s another completely separate Stableford competition. That is to be the pattern for the immediate future of weekend golf at Sconser-one competition, one day, with two competitions per weekend becoming the new normal.
For many decades now in an attempt to encourage as many members as possible into playing competitive golf the weekend fixture has been open for play during both days. However that arrangement has proved to be problematic when combined with the new Scottish Golf software recently and currently adopted by most if not nearly all affiliated golf clubs so this quite radical change is an entirely logical solution to what was causing difficulties in processing results.
Additionally of course the weather could and did play a significant part in determining the outcome and those familiar with Sconser conditions will be aware that it can be chalk or cheese in two hours never mind during two days.
To this observer at least the concept is sound making as it does the administrative side considerably easier to process while the players who prefer to compete on either their chosen Saturday or Sunday will remain largely unaffected.
The Brucie-bonus for those with ‘understanding’ wives, girlfriends or partners is that they can now play competition golf on both Saturday and Sunday should they so desire-just before the divorce papers arrive or the trial separation begins!
Away from the fixtures, competitions and procedures John Greens has, despite the absolutely shocking winter of weather been busy with some very significant, overdue and fairly major work projects on the course. The focus of his attention has been on the ‘village’ end where three projects have been identified, addressed and successfully completed.
1) Drainage on the 7th fairway has been a problem since it was created as the 1st fairway way ‘back in the day’. Over one hundred metres of sub-ground drainage has been installed and early signs are that the impact appears to be positive. All materials were sourced locally and the turf was reused.
2)The 16th tee has been dug up, removed and a new tee created down by the shore thus adding nine extra yards to the length of the hole and changing the angle of play very slightly. All the materials used for the new tee were harvested from the old one.
3) Finally a new greenside pot bunker has also been created and positioned front left of the 7th green. Three holes from nine or six from eighteen now have bunkers as part of a ‘new’ course strategy agreed by JG, Greens Convener John Maclean(Torvaig)and the committee. All materials used in construction were from the course.
Finally though, consider this the most dramatic of moves and one rumoured to be currently under discussion?
A ‘floating green’ could be constructed, positioned and moored offshore-beside the second green and behind the third tee!
Members should not get too upset too soon though as like the new ‘tiger’ tee on the 5th hole it would only come into play in the premier competitions and is unlikely to be in use anytime soon. However praise to those involved with the project for thinking outside the box-or should that be off the shore?
The Coeur D’Alene golf resort in Idaho is the inspiration for this member-led suggestion but a rope-pulley system and not a mechanically-winched small boat would be used to transport golfers from the land to the environs of the necessarily artificial green.
Artificial it would have to be unlike the ‘original’ which weighs in at 15,000 square feet, has real grass, geranium flower beds and five trees!
Fish farm technology, expertise and resources are available to help locate, position and anchor the ‘green’ to provide a reasonably stable platform on which the players would land their golf balls. It is envisaged that only a wedge shot would be required so despite premature and ill-informed speculation there are no plans to drop anchor halfway to Raasay, register the ‘green’ in Liberia and create a shipping hazard-or in modern golf terminology I suppose-a ‘penalty area’!
The 2nd hole would then become a par five like it’s groundshare the 11th and would further increase the playing difficulty and challenge of the Sconser track. When completed it is envisaged that players would play their approach shot from near the site of the present 2nd/11th green to the island green.
Our ‘green’ would be a proper island green ie. surrounded on all sides by water and not a peninsula-a landform surrounded by water on most of it’s borders but still connected to the mainland-as should be the correct nomenclature for the infamous 17th at Sawgrass!
Finally my very best wishes to you all, please continue to keep safe and well-it’s good to be back!