KILDALTON CROSS WEEK 1996
Success, success and more success. These are the only words to describe Islay Golf Club's annual Kildalton Cross Week. User friendly course, largest entry of competitors, exceptional ladies night and final night dinner and dance. Who cared if the weather was not a repeat of last year, no one comes to Islay for the sunshine. To top it all the standard of golf in the final stages has never been equalled.
The course had been prepared to the new owners specifications. Malcolm King had foreseen that the infamous rough was probably too daunting for visiting golfers and the number of balls lost during a golfing break added much to the total cost. Gone were the areas of knee length grasses which caused long delays in major competitions, gone was most of the rabbit damage and gone was the danger to vehicles and passengers on the Machrie Road.
The greenkeeper Gavin Campbell had again mustered his crew to ensure that the course was in the right condition for such a prestigious competition.
THE FIRST DAY
A field of 86 members began the first competition of the week on Saturday 3 August. The Club Championship was combined with the Lachie Mackinnon Memorial Shield for the handicap entries and the S W Thompson Cross for the over 50's. The Championship was over 36 holes and was won by Derek Gray of Renfrew GC with a two round total of 142. Past Captain Alistair McLachlan was successful in securing the other two trophies and giving notice of intent for further success later in the week. Weather conditions were fair and the SS was calculated at 70.
VISITORS -v- LOCALS
The pressures of competition were gone for Sunday when, with the additional holiday arrivals a field of 92 players were arranged at every hole - and then some -for the friendly Visitors versus Locals. Always an opportunity to renew acquaintances with friends and test the course at the same time. With 23 teams in the competition it seemed odds on that a result would be decisive for the first time. Would you believe, one match halved and the other 22 teams shared the honours. The deciding match was reduced to one member each at the 18th. Gordon Hyslop of Kilmacolm claimed to have secured the match with the last putt and this was conceded by his opponent, last years Cross winner Gordon MacMillan. On enquiring as to the whereabouts of the other two players in the game it was suggested that the scenery and some local produce had halted their progress about the 14th. Much later the home player, the greenkeeper Gavin was advised that his team has lost their match. "Impossible" quoth Gavin " we were in the lead the last time I played" (or words to that effect) , an indication of how serious this event is taken.
Much more serious the next two qualifying days. For the first time ever the entry for the Cross exceeded the 'hundred', by another 12. Strong winds and rain welcomed the contestants and whether forenoon or afternoon times had been chosen everyone was soaked to the skin by the end of the round.
Winner of the first round and the Captains Prize was visitor Calum Torrie, playing off 15 who pipped local Alan Stewart in a better inward six and a net round of 69. Ten contestants failed to complete the course. The weather the next day was marginally worse but again a net 69 secured the Peking Cup for local man Eddie Brown. Alan Stewart continued to play outstanding golf and was rewarded with the Leading Qualifiers Prize with a net 140.
The effects of the weather were reflected in the cut which had been calculated at 157. Several players who thought their chances had slipped away for another year were delighted to find themselves included in the top 32. The auction was traditionally held in the main function room at Machrie Hotel and a packed audience were again entertained by the ubiquitous Alistair McLachlan as he sold player after player.
At the end of the proceedings Margaret, wife of the newly appointed Captain, S W (Tim) Morrison, made the draw to match player to player in the forthcoming final rounds of Match play.
Ideally a local would play a visitor to ensure an even support but the first round draw would leave only six locals in the second round. By the quarter finals two such locals were left to uphold the Island's honour, John (Tam) Campbell and Ian Maccuaig. The other quarter finalist were new member Gavin Scott from Ayr, Fraser Irvine, Southport, Iain Middleton, Aberdeen (former Cross winner), Jim O'Brien, Aberdeen, another new comer from the Northern Lights, Derek Gray (former Cross winner) and another member from the Northern Lights, Nicol Meldrum.
THE LADIES BAR-B-Q
Wednesday's weather reminded us that it was still summer and all looked well for the bar-b-q and dance arranged for the courtyard at the hotel later in the evening. Tom Kelly's Country and Western group had been booked to add to the atmosphere. The ladies had determined to sell as many tickets as possible and this was shown in the large number of locals who joined in the evenings activities. A sumptuous choice of prepared meats were cooked on the open fires under the watchful supervision of Chef Allan Bell. Midges and mist contrived to send the participants indoors to be met with the foot tapping, thigh slapping beat of 'Wild Country' whose repertoir of Country Classic also included traditional and modern dances. For the first time in many years all the lounges and function rooms of the hotel were packed and the atmosphere was ecstatic. All agreed that the change of format for the Ladies Night had been a huge success.
THE FINAL ELIMINATION
The previous day's weather had been benign but as the rounds progressed the weather regressed. At the end of the first round on Thursday, Scott, Irvine, O'Brien and Meldrum had won through with Irvine having a comfortable passage most of the way. At the same stage of the Kildalton Plate Competition being run for the next 32 qualifiers, the semi finalists were, Edger Engert our German representative for many years, David Livingstone (former Cross winner), Alistair McDonald (last year's Plate winner) and who else but Alistair McLachlan, -ubiquitous, remember? At the end of Thursday's play Fraser Irvine and Nicol Meldrum had reached the final stages to be fought over 36 holes on Friday.
THE CROSS FINAL
Weather forecasts were again reviewed but none mentioned that Islay would receive anything better that the rest of the west. The outdoor presentation of all the trophies was in jeopardy. Using the traditional system of handicapping, Fraser started four holes up at the start of the morning round. Two birdies and two pars in the first four holes in again windy conditions saw the deficit cut and a declaration of intent from Nicol. Shared pars at the 5, 6, and 7th temporarily stemmed the flow but a birdie, par finish to the first nine saw Nicol 2 up and out in 33. Turning into the strong wind Fraser bogey golf could not compare with the power golf demonstrated by Nicol and after the first eighteen, Nicol had a comfortable margin of 8 up. Nicol's stroke score was around 70.
THE CAPTAIN DRIVES IN
Literally the Captain Tim Morrison did drive in, on a greenkeepers four wheeled bike, with Margaret perched precariously at the back. His first drive retrieved by Thomas Logan jnr was suitably rewarded and his second drive, for the adults was retrieved by none other than son Andrew. Although the cylindrical container said 'Bowmore' it was suggested that the true contents were something other. Alistair McLachlan (again)? was heard to remark that it was definitely not a fix as Tim was never known to be so accurate with his tee shots
THE FINAL HOLES
The break for lunch did nothing to change the pattern of play. Nicol won the 19th and 20th with birdies and although Fraser had settled down to par golf it was not enough to reduce the deficit and by the 27th hole Nicol's demonstration of skilful and powerful golf gave him the success he had sought for several years.
The final round of the Kildalton Plate was also being held and the experienced David Livingstone had overcome our German visitor and in the bottom half of the draw who else but Alistair McLachlan had defeated the tenacious Alistair McDonald.
Their final round preceded the Cross final. A close match was fought in difficult conditions but in the end Alistair was triumphant.
Due to the inclement weather the trophies were displayed in the hotel's Byre Restaurant. Members were packed in to witness Margaret Morrison presenting all the Club's trophies to the male members. Husband Tim presented prizes to local boy Jamie MacTaggart who had won the Junior Championship and the Junior Cross. Martyn Kelly was runner up in the Cross and another local, Robert Shaw received the Junior Handicap Prize. The Novice prize was presented to visitor John McDougall. Malcolm King was then called to present his new trophy, a silver chalice, to the Ladies Section. It was received by Mrs Winifred McKinnes on behalf of the visitors who had been successful in the Ladies Visitors v Locals Match. The Kildalton Cross Flags for 1996 were presented to the those chosen by the donors, Billy Smith and Rodger Hardie. The number 5 flag was presented to Dugie Mackinnon for his magnificent and expensive 'Hole-in One' during the Consolation Match. Captain Tim Morrison then presented an inscribed copy of 'Chronicle of Islay Golf Club and Machrie Links' by John Cubbage to our new proprietor, Malcolm J King as a token of the Club's appreciation for all that has occurred since his purchase of the hotel and golf course.
Impeccably timed by the Captain the dinner commenced at 8.30. The maximum number of tickets had been sold and the hotel manager, Anthony Chick had somehow managed to seat 155 in the main suite and a further 14 in an adjacent room. Many members had been disappointed not to be able to join the main party but this was due to the high demand for tickets. Among the top table guests were the speakers for the evening, Mr Alex Dickie, member of the R&A and Mrs Jane Rentoul, wife of former Cross winner. Past Captain Scott Grier also gave a humerous toast to the Ladies. Doctor Alex Campbell, our oldest Past Captain recieved a special invitation in his 96th year. A lavish meal, arguably the best ever, was presented by Anthony and served by his regimented staff of girls. After all were suitably wined and dined the Captain invited the speakers in turn. Fraser, eloquent and gracious in defeat, complimented Nicol in his power play and congratulated him on his win. Nicol standing up to replay was regaled with the chorus and verses of 'The Northern Lights' such as to make the Last Night at the Proms pale into insignificance. He to was gracious and admitted he had never played so well and was proud to be the holder of such a magnificent trophy. After the formal speeches of the evening the suite was transformed to hold the last official function for the week, the dance. With music performed by Murray Omand and his group the dancers danced on and on till the wee sma' hours not wishing to end another successful Cross Week.
After many years of trials and tribulations our historian, John Cubbage, has achieved the goal which for so long looked impossible to gain. His work over the last few years has taken him into many archives and with the help of members he has collated an accurate and illustrated account not only of the Club's history but a way of life on Islay since the turn of the century. The first 200 copies were rushed through from Broxburn in one of Halls meat and pastry vans, the only contractor who could guarantee delivery in time for the planned book launch. John Cubbage was flown in on Thursday afternoon and the book arrived at 6.45pm in time for the launch at 7.15pm
The first hundred copies have been sold to members during Cross Week but further copies will be available at a retail price at the Machrie Hotel shop.
One new lady member was overheard when reading the results board " 157 to qualify?, I had better than that on Sunday!"
At 5am on Saturday morning ,after the dinner dance, one past captain was stuck for a lift to Port Ellen. "I'll squeeze you in" said another Past Captain's wife as she removed her less than sober husband from the front seat of the already packed Mercedes by the elbow, opened the boot door, gently laid her husband inside and drove off. "Will he be alright in there?" enquired the now comfortable passenger. "Of course he will be" assured the wife " there's someone else with him".
This year the competition for the Quaich will be held on Saturday 28 September 1996. It will be held over two rounds of Stableford . Light lunch will be arranged and a small charge made. The tee is booked from 9am to 10.30am. Names on a sheet in the clubhouse nearer the time
On Saturday 3 August 1996 the Annual General Meeting of the Club was held at Machrie. During the business conducted the following were elected to the committee for 1996/7
Captain S W Morrison
Vice Captain Arthur Holyoake
A Hyslop (1997) R Hardie (1997)
K Gillies (1997) vide J Campbell
C Holyoake (1998) vide M Heads
D Mackinnon (1998)
J MacIntyre Jnr (1998) R Hogben (1999) A McDonald (1999)
D Wilson (1999) vide E Soutter
T Kelly, Junior Convener
(Additional to Greens Working Group -
Match Secretary R Middleton
Sec/Treasurer T Dunn
ISLAY LADIES GOLF CLUB NEWS
Islay Ladies Golf Club held their annual Club Championship on Saturday 3 August. The competition was won by Diane Brown. Rae McKenzie won the SLGA Brooch for the best handicap score of the day.
After the day’s play, the ladies held their Annual General Meeting. Margaret Hastie, last year’s vice captain was installed as captain of the club. May Carmichael was elected vice-captain.
The Club have had a busy summer during which there have been lots of competitions and social events. A recent social outing to Colonsay saw The Young Ones narrowly beat The Old Wrinklies by one hole after a very entertaining match. The outgoing captain, Lynn Gray, presented the Colonsay Cup to the winners.
The ladies were also very busy during Cross Week organising the Ladies Night barbecue and dance. The evening was a great success thanks to the excellent food provided by the Machrie Hotel, the music provided by Wild Country and of course the weather.
Other events during Cross Week included a Visitors v Locals 2 ball foursome competition. This was won by the visitors with a little help from some local members. Hopefully the fun had by all who took part in this competition will encourage more visitors to come along next year and help defend the trophy. Our thanks go to Mr Malcolm King for donating the trophy.
A WORD FROM THE CAPTAIN
It is indeed a great honour to be elected Captain of the Islay Golf Club and I am mindful of the personalities and characters who have held office over the past 100 years. We are indeed fortunate that through the perseverance and determination of John Cubbage we have not just a history of the Islay Golf Club but a very readable, fascinating and interesting story which will give enjoyment to all. It also highlights to me the responsibilities of the office of Captain, especially at this time, when the need to build on our relationship with Malcolm King must continue and special thanks are due to I.P.C. Ralph Middleton and our Secretary Tom Dunn and the Committee for establishing such a strong base, which I know Malcolm is most appreciative of.
The life blood of the Club are the juniors and we are fortunate that Tom Kelly has become the Junior Convenor - during Cross Week he has put in an enormous amount of time looking after starting times, score cards, coaching , as well as chauffeuring so many youngsters to and from the golf course.
Ian Wilson is to chair the greens working group and I know that he will establish a good working relationship with his assistant Charles Holyoake and Gavin Campbell our greenkeeper.
I shall keep you posted as to developments during the year. Meanwhile, I thank you for your support.
S W Morrison