The 36-hole David Murray Quaich competition at the Isle of Skye Golf Club requires a commitment to play golf that was way too tall an order for most of the club members.
Yet again it was mostly the group of early season usual suspects who came to Sconser to divide up the booty among themselves-or so they thought.
Still sidelined here but where are all the regular or even occasional competition golfers who could be playing but are opting out-or haven’t yet opted in?
Granted, the weather has been less than welcoming but the course is in nice condition and even the opportunity to take a bit exercise in the Sconser location is surely worth the drive alone?
However it was to prove a challenging day weather-wise for the players who were prepared to go round four laps of the Sconser track.They were competing for a trophy named in memory of a gentleman who played a major part in developing our golf course.
I say developing the golf course as oppose to the golf club because although he was a regular committee man and took his turn as captain of the club Davie Murray made the Greens Convener’s job his own in much the same way that Iain Fullarton and the post of Treasurer were synonymous back in the day.
Davie would have been at Sconser two or three times a week every week.He liaised with a variety of greenkeepers and work squads in order to keep the course in the best possible condition with the very limited resources available to us way back when.
He did a fine job and he was a good man.
Back to the golf then and conditions were tough for the morning round with a cold blustery wind blowing for the third week in a row.
Chris Hanley off his eight handicap set the pace early on taking 37 shots to go to the turn.Better was to come second time round though with only 34 more shots being required including a dazzling birdie, birdie finish for a total of 71 shots and an excellent nett score of 63.
Eight-handicapper Andrew Long got off to rocky start and 41 shots for nine holes was not what he was expecting.However he recovered slightly in returning a 38 shot second half for a nett total of 71.
His nemesis last week was the par 3 16th hole and it bit him again when he recorded a double-bogey five.
Jonathon Mackinnon has been very lightly raced so far compared to his mum and dad’s outings anyway but it didn’t take him long to find some form as he went to the turn in 37 blows off his six handicap.Second time round it was all ticking over rather well until the final three holes where unfortunately a loss of concentration resulted in him taking 15 shots against the par requirement of 11.
A bitter taste then after that faltering finish to sign for a 38 and a nett score of 69.There was some consolation though in that he was lying in second place with the rest of the ‘select’ field some way distant in a morning of variable and volatile scoring.
On repairing to the clubhouse the sour taste was apparently well and truly nullified thanks to the lady whose husband had kindly ‘volunteered’ her services to work in the kitchen for the moment!
Apparently she provided a fine selection of very acceptable and hearty victuals which were eagerly and happily devoured by the golfing gladiators before they sallied forth for round two.
Game on then and with the inner man fully satisfied and the wind having died down the rain decided to make an unwelcome and belated appearance.
However it is much easier to play in the rain than the wind and that proved to be the case as for the majority of players the scoring improved.
Andrew Long nipped to the turn in 36 shots returning home through the 16th hole with yet another double-bogey five. That resulted in 38 shots and a nett score of 66 for an aggregate total of 137 and third position on the podium.
Chris Hanley, sitting on a six-shot halfway lead also enjoyed his lunch but unfortunately during the break the old fella’s back stiffened up meaning that he couldn’t make a proper backswing. The result was that 42 shots were required this time when 37 had been sufficient in the morning.
He recovered slightly as some mobility returned second time round for a 39 resulting in a disappointing nett score of 73 but second place overall with a total of 136.
The winner of the David Murray Quaich for 2022 is Jonathon Mackinnon.
He had much to do following a modest 69 and a six shot deficit in the morning round but he waltzed round the first lap of the afternoon session in 36 strokes before really catching fire in roaring home in a best-of-the-day 33 shots.An excellent nett score of 63, an aggregate total of 132 and the winner by four strokes-in what was a dramatic ten-stroke turnaround.
The very strong finish to the post-prandial round must have pleased the Kyleakin warrior. Where he took 15 shots to play the last three holes in the morning round he blitzed them in only 10 this time en route to the sweet taste of victory-and possession of the coveted trophy.
Jonathan said he was hitting the ball solidly and putting well which is never a bad combination. He added that he holed several important par-saving putts throughout the day but the birdie chances just wouldn’t drop.
Incidentally Jonathan was the defending champion-a fact he failed to mention in conversation. One wonders if he remembers that his first round last year was a gross score of 68 which was his lowest ever number round the Sconser circuit-then he went out and did it again in the afternoon round!
The 2021 result was 1) J Mackinnon 61+61=122; 2) S Johnston Jnr. 67+60=127; 3) C Hanley 67+64=131.
At long last the girls came out to play a competition in their regular Tuesday slot.The Lochalsh Leisure Stableford was the attraction but yet again, with respect it was only Jill Mackinnon and Donalda Johnston who troubled the scorer.
Cold and windy conditions made it tough for the ladies but Donalda engaged the correct gear right from the off and very steady golf saw her score 18pts for lap one and a further 16pts second time round for an honourable winning total of 34pts.
Jill had, by her own admission a poor first nine but recovered well to post her total of 26pts.Putting an extra sweater on second time round apparently made the difference.
The continuing poor weather necessitated the postponement of the latest in their series of planned get-togethers where players with golf handicaps would be partnered with those who would aspire to do so as the induction process continues.
The folks from KC recently had a wee trip up the road to Sconser where they were greeted by club captain Ally Young, together with members Ian Lewis, John Finlayson and Duncan Macrae.
After feasting on the goodies provided the group were presented with a cheque for £1,035.The money came from two fundraising golf competitions that were very kindly sponsored by James MacQueen, Building Contractors.
Then the fun really began when the golf balls and clubs came out as everyone tried their luck on the putting green.Apparently some great putts were holed but there were also some howlers too, much to the amusement of the other players and onlookers!
Good effort there by all who were involved.
One of our American ‘friends’ returned to Sconser recently on his first visit since the lifting of the Covid-related international flight ban.
Although an architect by profession Jim Hartsell is also a fanatical golfer and avid advocate of the delights of playing some of the more modest golfing tracks in Scotland.
He particularly relishes making and having time to meet those involved with the running of the smaller clubs.
He also writes about the game of golf and is currently gathering and collating material for a new book.
His personal favourite Scottish course is Dunaverty on the Kintyre peninsula where he is a member but he also has a guid conceit of Sconser and ‘follows’ our greenkeeper John Cunningham’s musings on social media to keep him abreast of the happenings and developments on Skye.
Although he and his Scottish friend visited on yet another of our dreich May days the boys enjoyed reacquainting themselves with golf in the raw before heading back to the sanctuary of civilisation-wherever and whatever that might be?
Such is his fondness for the IOSGC that we use one of his quotes about a previous visit on our website pages:
“I decided to go on the spur of the moment and I’m glad I did……I loved every hole and met some very nice people.Stunning course”.
Thank you Jim-haste ye back.
This Saturday both sections of the club are playing their respective Monthly Medals before combining forces on Sunday for a children’s charity stableford competition in aid of Kidney Kids Scotland.
This competition is being sponsored by William Wilson, Plumbers Merchants, Portree and we thank them for their continuing and much-appreciated support and generosity.
The first of three Opens at the club this year takes place on Thursday 9th June when the Seniors Open will take pride of place.
Club member Craig Campbell on behalf of his Opticians business in Kyle of Lochalsh has once again very kindly and generously offered to sponsor the event.
Saturday 21st May, David Murray Quaich
1) J Mackinnon 69+63=132;2) C Hanley 63+73=136 ; 3) A Long 71+66=137.
Tuesday 24th May, Lochalsh Leisure Stableford
1) D Johnston 34pts; 2) J Mackinnon 26pts.