A change to the way the annual prizes were presented this year has proved an outstanding success. For various reasons the prizes won during Cross Week were presented in August . For other reasons it was decided to hold a presentation dinner and dance in November - to test the water. Over eighty members and their wives, some twenty from the mainland, attended the function held on 8th November at Machrie Hotel. The fine array of trophies, both ladies and gents along with the hotels catering silverware ensured a sparkling start to the evening. An excellent menu had been prepared by Francois, professionally served and approvingly consumed.
No formal speeches, only Roger Hardie, the gents captain, enjoying every minute of congratulating the lady winners and the ladies captain, May Carmichael doing likewise with the gents. A quick table shuffle and the scene was set for an enjoyable evening to the sounds of the Ceilidh Band. A great atmosphere and one to be repeated.
Thanks are due in no small way to Ian Brown's pricing of the dinner and the provision of the Machrie coach to convey members to and from the function.
The second annual match against John Souter's Misfits was held on Sunday 2 November in calm and pleasant conditions. Two teams were drawn up, the locals being organised by Ralph Middleton. For parity some players were allocated to the opposition. All seemed to be going well for the Misfits till Ralph's 'Phantom Team' returned a score which, for the second year, ensured a draw. A silver salver was presented by the Misfits in memory of Alex McMinn one of their members who had passed on during the year. Another fitting tribute to the camaraderie inspired by golf will be on display in the Club's cabinet.
For the first time the annual competition was held over two days. The Lochgilphead team were accommodated in the lodges at a very reasonable tariff and the first round on 4 October 1997 was to be contested by seven four-ball matches. Islay just managed to win the first day by 4 matches to three. A la Ryder Cup format the second day was to be decided by fourteen singles matches. The accommodation had been perfect but so too was the availability and hospitality at the 19th. Suffice to say the visitors found it hard going the second day and after a gallant effort went down nine matches to twelve. For the first time in three years Islay regained the trophy. It is intended that this well tried format be repeated in the next home match.
The competition was held on 27 September 1997, the second occasion this century. Forty-two of our members competed in the Stableford format. At the end of the morning round three players including the holder, Dan Heads, had scored 40 points. The other two continued to score in the afternoon with Libba Livingstone adding another 38 points but the winner was John Campbell Jnr who added 39 points in a very close run contest.
A sober Hogmanay might be recommended this year for the serious golfers among us. Last years Icicle Trophy has been upgraded by the Hotel and now features major prize money. Sandra has also advertised the event throughout Scottish golf clubs and as an inducement has upped the top prize to ,200. The open competition has an attractive package for ,200 per person for three nights accommodation, breakfasts and dinners and entertainment included. The competition will be run by the Club on similar lines to last year, viz two rounds of Stableford. There will be an entry fee for members and visitors not taking the package deal. Further details will be posted in the clubhouse.
If you haven't thought about it, you'll have to now. The Hotel management are offering first choice on six of the lodges to Club members who wish to bring in the New Millennium at Machrie. Already bookings have been made and the time will soon pass. Contact the Hotel at 01496 30 2310 and make your booking now. A small deposit might be required.
Its that time again to remind you of what is available as that alternative Christmas present.
Do you know of someone who has qualified in the past to compete in the Kildalton Cross. If so the club has an appropriate tie which can be purchased from the secretary for ,5.00
John Cubbage's 'Chronicle of Islay Golf Club and Machrie Links' is still available at ,10 plus p&p.
This book is now being purchased around the world and no member or anyone connected with Islay should miss the chance to own this historic document.
A fine assortment of pullovers and garments with the Club's gaelic crest on them is available at ,25 by ordering through the club Captain, Roger Hardie. He can be contacted at 16 Johnston Street, Greenock
TEE TIME AT MACHRIE
Remodelling of tees has started on the course. Under the supervision of John Souter the tees at the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 7th and 9th have been moved and/or remodelled. A major difference will also be found at the 17th tee where the view up the fairway has been extended by bulldozing the hill in front of the ladies tee into the hole which was beyond it. This is the first of a three phase operation to improve and enlarge the tees and extend the overall distance of the course
MEMBERSHIP RECORD - AGAIN
The total membership at the 'end' of the 1997 season is 344, a net increase of fifty new members since last year. Local membership has also increased and is reflected in the entry for local competitions. Thanks are again due to the Hotel Management who actively encourage guests to take out Club Membership.
From the Captain and Committee a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our Members
MACHRIE ON TELLY
If you want to see Machrie in glorious sunshine tune into STV's holiday programme, 'Scottish Passport' on Monday 8 December 1997. The 'High Road' actor, Robin Cameron, ( dressed in a club's sweater and the Machrie's trews and cap), is filmed being challenged by the Scot's Maiden and views along the 9th and 10th left the girl photographer ecstatic. Watch out for cameo roles from committee members.
After two years of negotiations an Agreement between the Course owners and the Club has been signed by M J King and the Captain Roger Hardie. For the first time in decades the club has a document which sets out the rights and obligations of each party. Although now formalised most of the contents have been operative over the two seasons, viz Greens Working Group, Dress Code etc.
NEW SCORE CARDS
The hotel management have arranged for the course to be measured by laser and new score cards have been purchased. The new cards will be utilised by the Club from 1 April 1998 and the main difference will be found in the Stroke Index at each hole. This index now complies with the formula approved by the SGU. The stroke at each hole DOES NOT INDICATE THE DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY but is part of a fairer allocation over the eighteen holes.