Home IGC NewsLetters June 2001
June 2001

After a lifetime of involvement in the coaching of Islay Golf Club's Junior Section, Alex and Diane Brown have been honoured by the Golf Foundation.  This auspicious National body, created for the development of junior golf, receives annual nominations from the thousands of golf clubs up and down the UK.  Those considered to have provided meritorious service to junior golf are
presented with the Sir Henry Cotton Award. Diane travelled to The Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, on 17 May to receive the magnificent salver from Sir Michael Bonalleck.   She was accompanied by Immediate Past Captain David Wilson who together with Past Captain Tim Morrison, nominated Alex and Diane for the year 2000 award.  As well as the salver, Diane was asked to nominate a junior golf cause which she wishes to benefit from a donation of £1000 generously donated by the Stanley Morrison Trust.   "It's a great honour for the Club" said Diane humbly when she received the news, "the Junior section will be able to consider improvements to the coaching scheme to encourage more youngsters to train at Machrie."  For over 25 years Alex and Diane have imparted their experience to successive groups of juniors. The spirit of the game, rules and etiquette are most important and many of their former pupils still benefit from their early lessons.  All juniors, both local and visiting, are welcome to join the classes at
Machrie each Monday evening throughout the summer.  A special re-presentation of the trophy will be made to Alex and Diane at the prizegiving during Cross Week when more of Islay Golf Clubs members will be present to record their congratulations for a job well done. 


If you were a card player you would know that an Ace in the Hole can be beaten by three of a kind.  And so it was in the Medal round on Sunday 3rd June 2001 that David Drewett broke all records by scoring three magic twos at the par three holes. Sad to say David's achievement is not recognised in the same way a hole in one receives reward. No insurance money to cover his round of drinks, no bottle of whisky or a Golden Goose putter courtesy of national newspapers, no certificates or ties, - no luck!  He even picked a poor day for the magic two kitty. On a normal day he could get £5 or £6 sharing with other magic two's but the total pot was only £6.  Even match secretary Ralph Middleton had a go at him. After securing his third two at the 12th the 'wheels came off' and several sixes later resulted in his 10 handicap rising to 11.  David has been a member for several years and last year retired to Portnahaven from the mainland.  It was considered that this was the first occasion three twos had been achieved in a single round and even Alex 'Pudda' Brown states he has never heard of it before so it is definitely a Machrie Magical Moment. 


The second match for the Millennium Quaich took place at Machrie on Saturday 19 May 2001. Kilmalcolm Golfers arrived for a gentleman's weekend in perfect weather conditions.   Led by Captain Bob Duncanson with his Vice John Baillie, the regular team were about to show the newcomers some of the delights of Islay and Machrie in particular.   True to tradition the team's scouts arrived on Friday to check out the hotel, the course and the opposition. Having satisfied themselves that the hotel was well enough stocked with food and drink , that the course was immaculately presented and the opposition was nowhere to be seen, they set about serious practice, - in that order.   At the appointed hour, 9.30, the Islay Team were assembled , loins girdled, weapons flaying. Practice, practice, swings, chips putts all honed to perfection. By 10am they were knackered. The first points to Kilmacolm, - a new strategy- the team tactics were working!  The first match up was Captain for Islay, Tom Dunn assisted by his second in Command, Gordon Hyslop, who had 'turned his coat' for the occasion.  Regular soldiers over the Machrie battleground it was expected that the first skirmish would secure victory for the Home Guard. Not so, Messrs Duncanson and Baillie equipped themselves well in unknown territory. An unexpected volley through and out the burn at the second hole by Vice Captain Baillie set the stamp on the contest. Shortly after the home side found themselves four holes down. Shaken by the barrage but determined to leave the shelter of the bunkers the valiant two won skirmish after skirmish. At the 18th hole, honours equal, the local twosome were scuppered by a magnificent lob from the back of the green. John Baillie VC more renowned for building wartime bridges, had delivered a death blow.  Despite suffering from a hip injury sustained during the conflict when he fell foul of a 'Scots Maiden', Captain Bob maintained a heroic stand throughout his campaign.  He was the first to reach the shelter and succour of the hotel with a feather in his cap.  Subsequent matches followed their leaders. 

Bob Hogben and Ralph Middleton halved their match with David Wilson and Ian Robertson

J Edgar and D Brodie beat J Knowles and S Lamont

J Mason and R Hardie lost to H Jackson and N McGarva

A McGhee and I Wilson beat J Rae and D Begbie

R MacIntyre and G Hyslop beat G Wilson and J Cunningham

J MacIntyre and A Hyslop lost to I Nicolson and M Mutch.

All square at 3 1/2 matches each with only one match still being fought.

The tension was too great, a runner was sent forth.  'What news from the front?'    'The locals have it' came the reply.  Victory again for the second year . You can't beat knowledge of the local terrain when it comes to guerrilla warfare.   Blow by blow accounts were exchanged over a sumptuous lunch provided by the Hotel.   In the evening the forces joined in a traditional gathering to celebrate the annual Campaign. After an excellent meal , speeches and an exchange of momento the Company were entertained by the camp followers, Gordon Wilson and Roger Hardie with such ditties from HMS Pinafore and other operette militaire.  The evening ended with a chorus of 'We'll meet again' just before 'lights out' (well for some at least)


The SGU have announced that the start-up operation will now take place in January 2002.


The SGU have proposed series of substantial increases in the per capita subscriptions over the next few years. It would seem that this has been brought about by the million pound debt incurred over the College of Excellence at Drumoig  The Argyll and Bute Area insisted that no increases would be paid till the present board of management had resigned. This, in part, has happened and roadshows throughout the country have been held to allow representatives of the clubs to air their views.  On Sunday 10 June Vice Captain Gordon Hyslop attended such a meeting at Inverary.  There were many views and comments expressed which will be taken into consideration by the SGU Executive. A general consensus highlighted that one of two options must be adopted and all clubs must have their say before the SGU make a decision. 

Option (1)

A total subscription to the SGU in the year 2002 equating to £10 per adult male member of SGU Member Golf Clubs reducing to £6 in 2003 and £6.50 in 2004. Thereafter adjusted by rate of inflation.

Option (2)

A £7.75 subscription per male adult member of SGU Member Golf Clubs from 2002 through to 2006.  This does not include the amount to the Area Union At a committee meeting held on 29 June 2001 it was unanimous that Option (2) be recommended. However it is anticipated that Option (1) will be selected. You have been warned.


Are you competing during Cross Week?. Have you filled in the Registration Form? If not, please, please do so now.

Advanced Entry Forms used for the Machrie Open, where a similar number of golfers competed, proved that the administration work was made much easier by knowing the entrants in advance.  Closing date 21 July 2001


The Committee have been looking at ways of changing the present auction to a system more in keeping with a lottery. This would allow everyone a better chance to secure the better players rather than them being monopolised by the stronger syndicates . It is essential that the entertainment factor be retained and Alistair McLachlan is being consulted regarding the changes.  It is suggested that each 'horse' is bought for £80 then by lucky dip the player is made known. While the strong syndicates may purchase several horses, the individual or lesser syndicate has the opportunity to acquire a good horse.  The committee are considering the suggestion that a number of the horses might be auctioned off blind.  The punters knowing that some good horses have not been selected.  The final changes will be decided and published before Cross Week.  


After a short illness Past Captain, Past Secretary and Past Treasurer Douglas Stone died in Fleetwood in May. On 14th he was laid to rest beside his wife Madge at Kilnaughton Cemetery, Port Ellen.  His daughter Fanny and son Andrew renewed auld acquaintances at the reception attended by all of his island friends and club members.   Douglas was always in touch with the secretary and maintained an interest in our progress each year.  His long service to Islay Golf Club was recognised when he was awarded honorary membership in 1986. Another of life's characters who will be fondly remembered 


You can't beat Machrie! So implied Willie Campbell in 1891 when he declared, "This place is made for gowf !"  Into a new millennium and the prediction still holds true.  In its fifth year of resurrection the Machrie Open attracted a record field of 120 players of all categories and from all parts of the globe.  Despite the perfect weather, perfect presentation of the course and many category one golfers it was unanimously agreed Machrie was the winner.  The top prizes on offer were the coveted Machrie crystal vase and the Caol Ila Claret jug as the scratch and handicap prizes. A further twenty runner-up vouchers ensured that all levels of player stood to gain from the competition.  The glorious weather during the preceding weeks suited the holiday makers but was not conducive to preparing the golf course. Simon Freeman's timely raindances around his Standing Stone Circle, ensured that practice day on Friday would be wet enough to add the final touches to his preparations.  Unfortunately the forecast for the weekend was most foreboding and it looked like Simon's footwork had been a tad zealous. Not so, for no mention was made of Islay and its unique weather system.  To accommodate some groups the format was changed to a 36 hole event over Saturday and Sunday. The subsequent increase of entrants proved it impossible to hold the prizegiving on Sunday in time to allow departure on the afternoon ferry. As a result most of the prizewinners had departed before the ceremony.  Light winds and warm sunshine greeted the players, with the morning matches having the ideal conditions.  First round leader was local Alastair 'Libba' Livingstone with a one over par 72.  Previous Open winners, Lochgilphead's Matt MacAulay and Jim Litster and Islay's Ruaraidh MacIntyre, were accompanied by previous Cross winners Gordon MacMillan, John MacIntyre, Simon Crawford, Norrie MacDonald and John Edgar, all seven over or better.  On the handicap side local Nicol Mackinnon, playing off 17, had an excellent nett 66 to lead the other six better than par nett scores. Six players had Magic Twos, Hugh Reid, Hilton Park, was nearest the pin at the fifth and Charles Holyoake had the longest drive at 18th.   Sunday's weather defied the dreadful forecast and the second round resumed in ideal conditions. A redraw of matches had been organised to allow players wishing to leave by afternoon ferry. With the earlier start at 7am all matches had continued play by 12 noon. Few dropouts had occurred despite the revelries at various venues throughout the island.
At the end of the second round Jim Litster had knocked off six shots from his previous round for one over par 72. Two dropped shots at the 4th and 7th and a birdie at the 9th saw him out in one over par. A magic two at the 10th followed with a birdie at the par 5 13th and dropped shots at the 15th and 16th had him back in the clubhouse as leader on 150. Simon Crawford, Islay and Gleneagles, matched the 150 but a count back left him in second place.  With the conditions prevailing and most of the field following , it seemed not too difficult a target. Only nineteen other golfers were able to break 80 gross, for the second round, an indication that once more the Machrie Links had prevailed.  At the end of the day's play Jim had won for the second time the Machrie Vase and a £200 voucher. John MacIntyre's early start time of 7am obviously suited his game plan. A nett 67 in the second round after a tidy 68 the previous day secured for him the prestigious Caol Ila Claret Jug. As winner of the Handicap prize he also received a voucher for £100.
All participants were unanimous that the course and particularly the greens were second to none they had played over this year. The success is such that the administration will restrict next year to a field of 120. No weekend gathering can be held without humorous situations arising and this one was no exception. On Saturday one golfer enquired at the shop if his driver had been handed in. A puzzled assistant asked for a further explanation. It seemed that on the wet Friday practice day the player, on the third tee, had decided he had consumed too much of our local produce, left his golf bag and proceeded to the sanctuary of his lodge. The following day his bag and clubs had been restored but the driver was missing. It is suspected he used it as a crutch to assist his homeward journey.  A match leaving the 17th green and approaching the 18th tee saw a local man who shall remain nameless but his initials are Thomas Logan, about to strike his ball on the forward tee. "Stop, stop," they cried. "Use the back tee."   "Quiet please!" demanded Thomas. "This is my second shot." The final three-ball matches were negotiating the longest drive at the 18th.  Ian Aldridge, Roehampton, was the longest for the day and marked the card accordingly and was satisfied knowing there were only two three-balls behind. Simon Weller, Edgebaston, and friend of Ian in the next three-ball outdrove Ian to his personal delight, and while writing his name on the card, a ball from the last three ball of the day came skipping past his feet to take the prize which was collected by Andy Garnett of Gleneagles.   The same Ian, before leaving, boasted of almost driving the 357 yard 11th hole and suggested the course be lengthened. His score card showed that the other 182 blows over the two days should be reduced first and the bogey and par scores at the hole leave room for improvement.  Once again the atmosphere of Machrie, the unique Willie Campbell design, the camaraderie created by its presence, ensures that Magic Machrie is a winner. 


We would like to extend our Congratulations to Diane and Alex on receiving the Sir Henry Cotton Award for their dedicated work over the years with Islay Golf Club Juniors. We are all very proud you have received this award. Henry himself visited the Machrie in 1984 and I am sure he must have passed on great inspiration to Diane and Alec. In its first decade this is the first time the salver has come north over the border. Well done!. We are pleased the main Committee took note of the work the Ladies achieved last year in the Clubhouse. The recent facelift makes such a difference, especially the toilets, where we no longer have to worry about falling through the floor! I think we are now happy to call the 'Hut' the 'Clubhouse'. We're looking forward to the first Clubhouse Ceilidh.   As over recent years, Ladies Night will be on the Events Calendar for Cross Week. This has become a very enjoyable informal get together. After the Mexican Night some people suggested a little warning would have been nice if we were making a theme evening. So how about a 'Wild West' night? This is still open to discussion so any suggestions would be appreciated. 


Official Notification

The Ladies Committee have reviewed the Ladies Constitution for the first time in 25 years, I think. These amendments will be adopted at our AGM in August. Copies of the and proposed new constitution will be on display in the Clubhouse or individual copies on request from the Secretary. MH


Due to the popularity of the April Fool, our web designer, John MacIntyre, has retained it on the web site http://www.islay.golf.btinternet.co.uk/newsletters/articles/historic_discovery_at_machrie.htm for further inspection.


A Rare Dram Betters Everyone's Golf

A weak attempt at a slogan but a fact of life. Islay Golf Club has for many years been spoiled for sponsorship from almost every local business and enterprise. The trophy cabinet in the Machrie Hotel is full of silverware backed up with an annual donation to the trophy winner from the respective sponsor.  Ardbeg reopened a few years ago and Stuart Thomson, the manager, seized on the opportunity to involve the distillery in his favourite pastime - golf.  Resulting from this the Club, for the first time, organised an Am -Am, (that's Amateur versus Amateur to the uninitiated) involving all sections of the Club, the ladies, the gents and the juniors. Teams were to comprise of at least one of the categories. The total prize money of over a thousand pounds attracted eighteen teams of four. It wasn't realised there were so many competitive golfers in the club.  With a full handicap allowance and the two best nett scores counting, each team considered their names would be first on the new Ardbeg Trophy.  Saturday 30 June was the time and Machrie Links was the venue.  Presented in its perfect condition by the greenkeepers, the links had their part to play in the final outcome.   Weather was favourable with a strong west wind favouring only a few holes.   With a miniature Ardbeg in every golf bag (except the juniors who received golf balls) the ever hopefuls sallied forth to enjoy the new format.  Included in the sponsorship, a ceilidh was arranged at the distillery to complete the day's activities. The event was attended by about 150 including members and friends. Kenny Morris and his Sound of Islay were on hand to provide the mood while Mary McKechnie, Elaine and Emma were on hand to provide the food. Salver after salver of edibles accompanied glass after glass of drinkables. Mine Host, Stuart, was 'Jack of all trades' and kept fully employed looking after his appreciative guests.  At the interval, doffing his waiters hat and donning his Master of Ceremonies replacement he welcomed one and all . To everyone's delight he announced that Ardbeg's sponsorship would be an annual affair. He then called on Emma to present the vouchers and trophy to the winners. Match secretary Ralph Middleton announced the winners in the traditional reverse order. In fifth place and receiving a team prize of £120 were Arthur and Donnie Holyoake, Jim McGhie and Sammy Graham (score 128). Fourth place and £160, Diane and Alex Brown, Ian Patrick and Alan McIntosh (score 128). Third place and £200, Di Thomson, Kay Fleming, Karen Cracknell and Gilbert Stevenson (score 127). Runners up and £240, Nigel Carmichael, Nicol Mackinnon, Andrew Bauld and Colin Logan (score 123). Winners of the Ardbeg Trophy and a prize of £300, Douglas Tott, Dennis Melrose, Ian Beck and junior, Michael Bonar (score 122, 20 under par).  Novelty prizes were also awarded.  Ardbeg umbrellas, pullovers and polo shirts were presented to nearest the pin and long drive winners, Tom Dunn, Gordon Ross, Nigel Carmichael, Greg Hyslop, Diane Brown and Iain Middleton.  Islay's golf club members have always been grateful to Islay's distilleries, either for their produce, their sponsorship or in many cases their employment. This latest link surpasses all previous and continues a long established association between the two. Proof, if it were needed, that - A Rare Dram Betters Everyone's Golf.  We are indeed appreciative. 


John MacIntyre, Snr, Past Captain twice, Cross winner and long standing member has been nominated to the Honorary Members list for his service to the Club. John spends much of the winter in Spain where the weather is more user friendly. He still manages several visits to Machrie to keep his eye in.  We wish John many more years as an honorary member of the Club