A GORDON FOR ME
John Gordon, wife Sian and the boys arrived early to capture as much of Cross week atmosphere as possible. They had been unable to secure accommodation to stay on for the duration. To make up for the loss John ,during a bounce match, achieved a hole in one at the fifth hole. A few days later Sian, at the same hole and accompanied by John and the boys as witnesses, made another hole in one. The same day at the tenth hole Duncan Orr, practising early for Cross, achieved the same goal. A costly affair for all concerned. No insurance, busy bars, - bad timing. John Gordon, who researched the life and times of the Reverend Pease, first time winner of the Cross, has presented the Club with an enlarged picture of the distinguished gentleman. It now hangs in the Golf Bar above the prestigious Cross. John has also presented a trophy for competition by the juniors. It now fills the gap which existed for the Junior Cross Handicap winner. Another step to encourage the club's lifeblood.
FLYING THE FLAG
Another Gordon was busy this week. To mark his year of Captaincy Gordon Hyslop has acquired a large flag with the Club's insignia in black on a yellow back ground. The hotel has kindly allowed the flag to be flown during Cross Week from their recently erected flag poles at the front of the hotel. The flag is a beacon for miles around and will be flown during this and future Cross Weeks . (If you were in the Scouts or the Guides we know the Union Flag should be uppermost of the three poles but Cross Week is now more important than the Nation itself)
As proof that there are more up and coming juniors the committee have introduced rules to allow them the advantage of senior competition. Junior players who are capable of playing to a senior handicap will be eligible to play in all senior competitions from the white tees. Already there are youths who have not reached eighteen years playing in this years Cross. John Kidd won the Junior Championship last week and followed that success by winning the senior monthly medal a few days later. The committee have decided that once a youth has been playing senior he/she would not be able to revert to junior play. Both John and his pal Greig Hyslop are entered for the Senior Cross.
In ideal weather conditions, warm sunshine, gentle breeze and magnificent course over 130 players competed over two rounds for the Club Championship. Their first round score counted towards the Lachie Mackinnon Memorial Shield and the Secretary's Trophy for the over 50's. John Gordon, inspired by his earlier hole in one, completed his two scratch rounds in 71 and 76 to secure the Club Championship. Liam O'Donoghue won the Lachie Mackinnon Shield and Alex Brown took the Secretary's Trophy. Liam also receives the MacMillan Spoon. A total of £117 was raised for the nurses.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Attended by over 50 members the Club's AGM was held this year in the Hotel's library. Captain Tom Dunn ended his successful year in office by handing over the reins to Gordon Hyslop. Having negotiated the clubs business swiftly and again without discourse Captain Hyslop used the occasion to explain the new system to replace the auction on Tuesday night.
IAN MUIR TROPHY
For the second day the weather gods looked down favourably and the Visitors versus Locals match was conducted in brilliant sunshine. Despite Ralph having to manipulate the players to select a strong team of locals, his plans fell through and the visitors retained the trophy. The presentation decanter was quickly filled and just as quickly emptied.
BLUE SPANISH SK(IES)
The ladies surprised everyone by bringing forward their special night from Wednesday to Saturday. The weather suited the Spanish Theme and to the strains of flamenco music supplied by 'Contraband' the senors and senoritas danced the moonlit night away. Novelty raffles and coins to the bottle added to the entertainment but best of all was Margaret Morrison's prize-winning interpretation of an Andalusian gypsy.
The third day of perfect conditions provided an opportunity for the hundred and thirty -three contestants to pit their skills against the Machrie links. From the record entry there were 45 players with nett score of 71 or better. Winner of the Captain's Prize with a nett score of 65 was Alan Kerr. He also had the best gross score for the day with a 71.
Calm, rain and midges followed the early starters on Tuesday. Matches were as before with a couple of drop outs. Scoring was as low as Mondays and by the end of the day the cut off for the Cross was 144, the lowest in memory. Derek Gray, always among the leaders had a fine 69 for the best score of the day. Best qualifier was local Neil Johnston with a nett round of 67 to add to the previous day's 66.
Tuesday night brought its usual chaos waiting for the last cards in. They could then be sorted for the Cross and Plate competitions. All the Plate qualifiers had been raffled and the Captain's wife Bam made the draw to match player to player and identify the owner. The Cross players were sold by lottery and again by slight of hand she arranged the destiny of the Kildalton Cross.
TOWARDS SEMI FINALS
Wednesday's thirty two starters were reduced to the final eight by Thursday morning. Fresh dry conditions prevailed and the field comprised of Neil Carmichael from Bowmore. A new member in his second year. Colin Robertson from Port Ellen, whose extra practice in recent years has paid off. Rob Smith, son in law of Ralph Middleton and keeping the Middleton flag flying. Simon Freeman, who needs no introduction - an expert on the greens. Paul Samphire, regular contender from Middlesex. Previous winner Alistair Livingstone from Port Ellen, Dougie Adams, long time member from Edinburgh and Ian MacCuaig, another long time contender from Bowmore. Conditions remained dry and bright but a stiff cooling north west breeze altered the club selection from previous days. By the end of the morning Colin, Rob, Alistair and Ian were left to decide Friday's finalists. After further contest Rob and Ian were left to consider their strategies for the final while Colin and Alistair were left to ponder the missed putts and fairways. The first round of the Consolation Stableford was held on Wednesday and Ken Clark amassed sufficient points to come out on top. On Thursday afternoon the quarter final of the Kildalton Plate had been reached. Charles Holyoake, Douglas Tott, John Kidd, Ian Patrick, Richard Kidd, Brian Dennison, Thomas Logan and John Campbell were all set to clean up on the plate The second Consolation Stableford was won by Nicol Meldrum with 36 points. On a perfect summer evening a new competition, Cross Country Texas Scramble, over the first five holes attracted several teams of mixed categories. Winners of Captain Hyslop's Prize were David and daughter Catriona Brodie, Karen Cracknell and Craig Johnston. Their gross score over 5 holes was 18 but their nett score was an unbelievable 7.3.
FRIDAY FINALS DAY
Bright breezy and a chance of showers. The first round for the Cross teed off at 8.30. Rob was one hole up at the start. Ian levelled at the 2nd hole and a 9 foot saving putt for Rob kept the match level. Two good shots to the forth green but Ian's took a nasty bounce off the green leaving Rob a four footer for birdie and restore his lead. A lost ball at the fifth and Rob was two holes up. Another saving 20 foot putt for par on seventh kept Rob ahead but three putts on eight lost him the hole. Ian's second bad drive found the rough on the left of the ninth and his second shot flew over the fence. Two up for Rob at the turn. A perfect chip from off the green by Ian at the tenth again reduced the deficit but the heather at the eleventh lost the hole for Ian. Robs first bad drive at 12 cost him the hole. A bogey for Rob at 14 was enough to win the hole and give him a two hole lead till a poor chip and missed putt at the 17th by Ian failed to match Rob's inch perfect putt from off the green. Honours even on the 18th and the players went to lunch with Rob three holes in the lead. The Plate had reduced to Douglas Tott and Brian Dennison set for an after lunch battle. The second round of the Junior Cross had also finished leaving local boy Craig Johnston this years holder. The S W Thomson Cross for the over 60's had concluded and found Bill Wallace a local hero again. To start, not only the afternoon's proceedings but also his year in office, Captain Gordon Hyslop lead his family through the 'tunnel of clubs' to the strains of Duncan Head's pipes. Trick shot's on the new first tee with a two-headed club ensured prizes for the young and old. Refereed by Vice Captain Iain Middleton the final of the Kildalton Plate preceded the final 18 holes of the Cross Competition which was to be overseen by Captain Hyslop. A poor start by Ian at 19th and Rob increased his lead and then reduced it again for several holes. At the short 23rd (fifth) Ian restored his confidence with a magic two. The scores oscillated over the next few holes with par/ bogey golf. At the thirtieth Rob had increased his lead to 5 holes up. Missed fairways by Ian seemed to be his downfall and by the 32nd Rob ran out the winner by five and four. A sporting match conducted in the best of friendships. For Ian it was the second opportunity to play in the final and for Rob a double celebration. He and his wife Ann had returned from the States to have their baby son Aaron christened at Port Ellen Church. The Plate final had also finished with Douglas Tott securing the match at the fourteenth.
With the sun beating down on the splendid courtyard garden the members and friends celebrated the presentation of trophies to all the successful competitors. Diane and Pudah Brown received the Sir Henry Cotton Salver for services to Junior Golf from past Captain Tim Morrison and a framed picture from Junior Cross Winner Craig Johnson.
Over 180 members, friends and guests attended the Dinner dance in the Hotel. Captain Gordon Hyslop mastered the proceeding with aplomb After a lavish meal the company were entertained with speeches from Ian and Rob. Head Greenkeeper Simon Freeman responded to the many compliments regarding the condition of the Machrie Links by saying "a few words". Stuart Thomson, manager of Ardbeg Distillery, proposed the toast to the Club. Past Captain David Wilson toasted the Ladies and Moira Sutherland with the aid of diaries she has kept of her formative years at Machrie, made a humorous and revealing response. Suitably wined and dined the company spent the next few hours working off their excesses, (or in some cases increasing them) reflecting on a perfect weather for the whole week and making plans to meet again next year. Cross Week as again an International affair with members arriving from America, Hong Kong and Australia. Newest member is Bob Cullen who especially joined to compete in and write about the Cross for an American Travel and Leisure Magazine. The photographer for the same publication has taken photographs of the course and the final events of the competition. Copies of these gentlemen's works are promised at a later date.
The Ladies' Section held their AGM at Machrie on Saturday 4th August, the new officials elected into office are: Captain - Isabel Fraser, Vice Captain - Margaret Hastie and Secretary - Karen Cracknell. Saturday night was also Ladies' Night, moved from the traditional Wednesday night because half the band were to be on holiday. This year's event had a Spanish theme and Machrie Hotel provided an excellent feast. The Spanish Dancing Competition was won by Margaret Morrison and an "Unknown Kiwi". The Carole MacIntyre Trophy, only three clubs allowed, was played on the Tuesday evening and those who survived the rain and the midges completed the first five holes twice. The Local Ladies' Syndicate had a successful year under the new raffle/auction system, finishing with a healthy balance - hopefully, next year's system will suit us just as well. Some of the ladies enjoyed walking round with the younger members of the Junior Section on Thursday and Friday mornings, finishing Cross Week in the company of what may be future Cross winners. KC
Just prior to the Islay Links going to press. Past Captain Tom was preparing to go on well deserved break to Canada to unwind after the stresses of Cross Week. Tom called to say "Have just watched an excellent film on BBC 2 - 'Citizen X' from a fact based novel by Robert Cullen. I checked the front page of a golf book Bob Cullen dedicated to me and he is one in the same. An astonishing coincidence worth a few lines in the Newsletter/ web site /Ileach as many of our members got to know him. Apart from giving me his golf book he kept his light under a bushel".