Unfortunately the new season at the Isle of Skye Golf Club got off to a stuttering start as the Greenkeeper’s Revenge competition scheduled for last Saturday had to be cancelled. However John Cunningham our greenkeeper has not been idle.
The course has finally emerged from beneath its winter blanket following a period of time when various alterations to the layout are made for protective and maintenance purposes. However, much diligent work has been done, the golf course is once more fully open for play and normal service has been resumed.
The teeing areas have all been ‘rested’ throughout the winter with rather luxurious plastic mats and fairway teeing positions utilised to protect the proper playing surfaces. The tees were double-scarified(a procedure that removes thatch, moss and dead organic matter)and overseeded(a process of sowing new seed on top of the existing stuff to promote new growth)in early March and JG reckons they are looking ‘quite well’ following their period of winter slumber.
The players will be pleased to hear this news.
The maintenance on the greens was completed two weeks ago with double-scarification, overseeding, top dressing(this dilutes the layer of thatch beneath the surface to increase drainage and improve the quality of the soil)and brushing(this raises the grass into a vertical position allowing for a slightly raised ‘cut’ on the mower without compromising the green speed)all done very diligently to prepare the best possible playing surfaces.
The players will be well pleased to hear this news too.
The recent deluge of rain was actually welcomed by John Greens following a recent dry spell so all we need now is for the air and ground temperatures to rise thereby allowing some growth to commence.
There was a ‘bit of a do’ at Sconser last week when a fine new sign was unveiled on the golf course courtesy of the Gaelic Trust, Urras An Eilein. Established by Sir Iain Noble in 1973 the aim is to promote Gaelic language activities and projects on the Isle of Skye.
This eye catching sign on the golf course set as it is before a background of the historic, photogenic and highly significant Isle of Raasay will hopefully encourage our many visitors to use the photographic opportunity it affords to take home at least one Gaelic memory from the island with them.
The sign was unveiled by Dr Angus MacDonald, Chairman of Urras An Eilein together with long-time club member and Gaelic speaker Calum Beaton on behalf of the IOSGC. The project was managed and brought together by Murdo Beaton who is also a long-time member of the golf club in addition to being the current Trust Administrator.
The ceremony was introduced in Gaelic by club captain Ally Young and the Isle of Skye Golf Club would like to place on record their thanks to Urras An Eilein for this kind, significant and very generous gesture.
Craig Lee’s first coaching session of the year has come and gone. Unfortunately it coincided with a particularly raw weekend of weather but it was good to see that some hardy juniors made the effort to attend their class on the Friday.
Next day a returning group of beginners, gratifyingly enlarged by yet more new recruits joined Craig for further coaching and in addition a couple of members who had pre-booked individual lessons took advantage of his vast knowledge and experience.
Craig intends to visit the club on the first weekend of every month throughout the ‘summer’ and members are asked to contact Craig directly for details and to book lessons.
Interestingly, although the competition of the day had been cancelled the car park was full as golfers were on the course and several apparently said to Craig that they would have played had the fixture not been abandoned.
I understand that only one single person had actually entered the competition by adding their name to the entry sheet so with food and Covid access to the clubhouse to be considered the decision was made to abandon ship.
The message here would appear to be clear-if an indication to compete is requested then it would be wise to do so-for the duration of these still necessarily restricted times at least.
The IOSGC would once again like to place on record their thanks to Compass Builders, Inverness for continuing their sponsorship of the coaching programme. The scheme was a great success in 2021 and a significant number of new members were recruited to the club as a result of the company’s generosity in funding Craig’s regular visits to the island.
The clubhouse is up and running now but sadly with staffing still a problem it is only able to open four days per week for the time being. New stewards Duncan Macrae and Jim Cumming are settling well to the task in hand and although the weather is still cold and wet visitors and members alike are beginning to trickle into the building. The atmosphere within can be staid and rather peaceful or ribald and rather mischievous depending on the ‘inhabitants’ at any particular moment but it’s great to have it back again to offer a friendly welcome to our visiting golfers in particular and our members in general.
As a footnote to this item my own game on course last Friday was rather rudely interrupted before being terminated by an April snow blizzard! Just shy of the second green and a long way from home when the storm commenced I was rather ‘chilled’ by the time I reached the sanctuary of the clubhouse.
However a warm welcome was received from Duncan, the duty steward and John Greens had popped in for a mid-morning cuppa too. Club member Andrew Long, masquerading as a joiner for the day was installing new windows in the building and then club secretary Iain Lewis joined the gathering.
The craic, which was of course socially-distanced was of good order and one was reminded of just what we’ve missed by not having the clubhouse available to use for the last couple of years.
Hopefully that wee session was a harbinger of better times to come?
This weekend sees the ‘new normal’ for most weekends throughout the season.
On Saturday the men will be competing for the Anniversary Quaich and on Sunday they will have an opportunity to compete in a Stableford competition.
The ladies will also play a Stableford competition on Sunday.