Newsletter of The Islay Golf Club
Greetings From Sunny Islay
It is actually raining here in Glasgow, as I put my mind to the year that was, as Captain of the Islay Golf Club.
Like many of the mainland Members, we are about to go on holiday to Islay again and the never ending challenge that is Cross Week. I cannot really believe it is almost a year since David Brodie said “over to you” at the AGM.
Gill and I look forward to renewing many auld acquaintances at the end of July.
I have had the “pleasure” of negotiating over the past 12 months, with both Graham Lacey and Ian Brown on the matter of the Club’s Lease of the Course.
It was brought to my attention that our previous Lease ran out around March 2001 and that we have had no formal agreement with the Hotel since that date.
I am pleased to say that both Graham and Ian have been extremely forthright and consistent in their negotiations and I am happy to announce that we have signed a new 5-year lease, commencing January 1st 2006.
I am indebted to Vice-Captain Hunter Jackson for his assistance and great support throughout the year and to Past Captain David Brodie, Secretary Ian Patrick and all of the Members of the Committee who helped formulate the Club’s position, comment on the Hotel’s proposals and finally approve, on your behalf, the final agreement.
Graham has told me of the many bold, exciting and extremely enterprising plans he has for the Machrie. I will not steal his thunder but leave it to him to reveal his future plans in his own time.
A good relationship with the Hotel is vital to the Club and vice versa. The success of each, to a great extent, is dependent on the other and I send Graham, Ian and all his Staff at the Hotel my thanks; for all they have done for us in the past 12 months; and my best wishes to them in the future.
The Golf Course
I played the course twice during the winter and once in the spring and I have no hesitation in saying that Simon Freeman and his Staff have brought this Golf Course up to a standard that I would not have believed possible just a few short years ago. The condition for the time of year was quite simply fantastic.
The quality of the turf and the layout of the holes is renowned and reflected in the great affinity every golfer who has played here, has for Machrie.
What Simon brings to this equation however is priceless. He is a talented golfer with a love of the game. This coupled with a professional, diligent approach to Greenkeeping results in the standards you see today. There is no substitute for hard work and the Machrie Links is the living proof. Evidence of this can be found as the Course again has risen several places in Golf World magazine’s top 100 Golf Courses of Britain and Ireland.
Several changes to the course have been made. In particular around the 10th and 14th greens and at the 15th tee alterations have been carried out, all of which I believe will greatly increase the pleasure of playing the course and undoubtedly lead to much better scores!
I have nothing but admiration for Simon and his team, a view shared by Graham Lacey who, as much as we do, values Simon’s knowledge and experience. Congratulations to all the Greenkeeping Staff.
My thanks go out to Dianne and Alec Brown who after many, many years valuable service to the Club have decided that they need a wee rest from looking after our Junior Section. I wish them on your behalf a long and a happy “retirement”. Successive generations of Islay golfer owe their skills to the dedication and hard work of Diane and Pudah.
The result of our questionnaire regarding juniors playing in Senior Competitions was interesting to say the least. From the hundreds of letters sent out to Members we received 19 replies, the majority of which supported the status quo. I am aware that not all Members received a questionnaire and that the ballot of Members views is therefore incomplete.
The Committee did, after much deliberation, allow several of our juniors to play in Senior Medals throughout the year. I am sure this matter is not yet resolved in the minds of all our Members and I would welcome any sensible proposals from you, which could be considered at the AGM.
Both Simon Freeman and Ian Brown, on behalf of the Hotel, attended a Committee Meeting during the year and I urge future Committees to maintain a close relationship with the Owners and to offer them a seat at our meetings.
The majority of Members are unaware of the many hours of hard work carried out by the various Convenors and Committee Members in running the Club and my thanks are due to each and every one of them.
To Kate Cracknell and Maggie Pollard; I wish you both a smooth transition to and from next year’s Captaincy of the Ladies Section. I appreciate your contributions at the Committee Meetings and to the calming effect you had when the meetings got a little “rough”.
I hope you all have a great year of golf at the Machrie.
The busiest week in the Club Year begins soon and the Hotel and Course will be buzzing with excitement. Then tales of triumphs and disasters in The Club Championship, The Cross, The Plate, The Senior Cross, will fill the air.
My good wishes go out to all who attend, and not just to the participants but also to the wives, girlfriends, sons and daughters (and even the dogs; for sometimes they are the only sympathetic ear you will find) who have to suffer the same old excuses of strong winds, bad lies and lost balls in impenetrable rough, yet again.
Whoever said “Islay…and its goodbye to care” never had to play Arthur Holyoake in the first round of the Cross.
Our Club is 115 years old and in great shape. We have diverse mix of Members from all around the world and each of us should feel proud to be part of a golfing heritage that is envied wherever the game is played.
Despite our differing views on many things we are all bound together in this unique group that is The Islay Golf Club
Finally to Vice Captain Hunter Jackson I send my best wishes and thanks.
My only advice to you is writ large on the Club Crest “KEEP YOUR TEMPER”.
Captain Islay Golf Club