Captain’s Message – June 2013
Well! Something more like summer appears to have broken out at last! The weather seemed to be having a monumental struggle coming to terms with the concept that, for the past few weeks, it was actually Spring. Nevertheless, during the month, the old short sleeved shirt did succeed in having an outing or two. What a difference that made! Regrettably, the golf didn’t really improve -- but at least I felt comfortable while I was playing badly.
Anyway, it’s good that, at last, that frightful wind seems to have gone away. I was becoming quite frustrated with the fact that no matter where in the country I played and on no matter what tee I stood, I felt as if I was always facing into what seemed like a force 8 gale!
Hopefully all that is behind us now and we’re set fair for a reasonable summer.
On the Course. . . . .
Ronnie and his team have been working hard in what can best be described as trying conditions -- on one occasion I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t talking to a half drowned seal instead of the Course Manager! Nevertheless, the course has settled down, with the greens in particular being really good, and we’ve had several very positive comments about the general standard.
One little thing that would help, however, is if we can all get into the habit of filling in the divots we make on the short hole tees. It’s quite easy to forget in the heat of battle, and I confess to having done so myself on the odd occasion, but, believe me, it makes a difference. If you’re less familiar with this, remember treating divots on fairways and on tees is different. On fairways you replace the divot but on tees you fill the mark with the earth/sand/seed mixture from the small green boxes at the side of the teeing grounds. This gives the tees the best opportunity to refresh themselves through the season and means you don’t lose your footing on a spread of loose divots.
In case you hadn’t noticed, a few of the flag-sticks on the course have developed small yellow spherical protuberances around their midriff! These are intended to indicate where on the green the hole is located. When the ball is at the top of the stick, the hole is at the back of the green; when it’s at the lower end of the yellow part of the stick, the hole’s at the front and when, like the Grand Old Duke of York, it’s neither up nor down, the hole is in the middle! Easy! This is a trial to see if it helps those of us who tend not to study the flag positions from other, earlier fairways as we pass by – and, before you tell me, I know it’s a yellow ball on a yellow background but, -- hey! -- you can still make it out, and in any event, as I say, it’s only a trial and if of value will be replaced with more permanent markers.
I have been asked to point out that a few people are taking a bit of a short-cut across the front of the 18th green particularly when heading to the Ladies Tee at the 13th. This tends to create a bit of a path right in the landing area if you come up short of the green. Given that it appears to be my fate currently to come up short, I have a special interest in this particular item! So Ladies, please – gonnie no dae that!
What’s Been Happening. . . . .
The signature event of the month was undoubtedly the Pro-Am. 30 teams turned out and some very good scores were carded. While the rain showed up for a while in the middle of the day, play was still comfortably completed. The course was in good condition and on their official inspection, the PGA expressed great satisfaction, adding that it was the driest course they had inspected so far!! So next time someone tries to tell you that Buchanan is a “wet” course just you remind them what the PGA said and that their comments are long out of date.
The Professionals with the best scores were Greg McBain (Gamola Golf) and Christopher Currie (Caldwell Golf Club), each returning a 6 under par round of 64. The team prize, with an impressive net 55, went to The Succession Group led by Stewart McNeill, with Professional Craig Matheson (Falkirk Tryst). Thanks to all, -- the sponsors, the organisers and the Ladies -- who helped make the day a great success. The total sum which was raised for The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice was a chunky £1361. Well done everyone!
The social competition, Drive @ Five, which had its first outing on Saturday 11th May, was voted a major success by those who participated. It took the form of a 4-Ball Texas Scramble over 12 holes and the planned 28 places were totally filled -- with several more coming along to join in the meal afterwards! People from all sections of the Club took part including several who were fairly new to the game. Everyone was mixed in together, including a few of our Juniors, and a great time was had by one and all! Following members’ comments, we have decided to keep to the same format for the next one, which will take place on Saturday 15th June and this time you can bring along a friend or family member to join in. Remember this has to be organised in advance so it would help if you could give names to the Pro Shop as early as possible please. Fun, frolics, food – and PRIZES! -- all for a mere £10 per head.
Regrettably, inclement weather postponed the playing of the Walker Glass Trophy match (between the Ladies and the Gentlemen of the Club). This will be played later in the season.
And Coming Up. . . . .
Ladies, please note that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the Ladies Captain’s Day has been brought forward by one week to Tuesday 2nd July. I believe this turned out to be quite a successful and enjoyable day last year and, as one of the chaps cruising about in the background trying desperately to gain brownie points with the Ladies by making himself look useful, that certainly seemed to me to be the case. So, if you don’t want to miss this year’s bash then please, Ladies, get that revised date in your diary!
The Professional’s Day on Saturday 6th July is definitely one to keep an eye on with Golf and BBQ during the day and a Hog Roast and a Jazz Band entertaining us in the evening.
Before then, however, on Sunday 16th June, we have the Club Championship finals day. The two Gentlemen Finalists will have their first round in the morning, with their second round in the afternoon starting at 2.00pm. The Ladies will play their final immediately behind the Gents in the afternoon and, in turn, will be followed by the Junior Finalists. There will be a BBQ and prize-giving on completion of the finals. Everyone is welcome, and indeed encouraged, to come along and follow the players. Having followed a number of finals myself, I can honestly say that they really are enjoyable events to watch. I find it quite relaxing chatting away with people as I wander round, watching some pretty decent players, and knowing that, for a change, I don’t have to worry about where the devil the next shot’s going to put me! Finals Day is quite a significant day in the Club’s calendar, so please do come along and join in.
Last month, I indicated that we were considering introducing a penalty hole for this season in aid of Junior Development funds. A number of members have suggested, however, that, while a good idea, it might be better to make it shorter and sharper. Taking that on board, we’ve decided to make it a 50p penalty if you enter any bunker on any of the four par-3 holes but only for the month of July. You will be able to buy honourable exemption (and have a small certificate as proof to wave under the noses of your chums) for the entire month by parting with just a fiver at the Pro Shop!! All in a good cause!!
A Senior Moment. . . . .
For those of you chaps out there who, like me, are marginally past that first flush of youth, are retired and who enjoy the occasional game or two during the week then there is a rather wonderful thing called the Retired Members League. I know many of you already participate in it, or have participated in the past, but I now also realise, from chatting to people, that quite a few eligible players are not aware of this opportunity. For those of you not fully up to speed on it, let me explain that this involves playing as part of a Buchanan team against teams from seven or eight other clubs ranging from West Linton, (to the South of Edinburgh), through the central clubs of Stirling and Dunblane to ourselves, as the outlier in the West. During the season, there is a match against one of these other clubs every couple of weeks or so.
The matches, while still part of a league set up, are nevertheless played on a fairly relaxed and friendly basis and, personally speaking, I always really enjoy the day, even if my golf’s not great. You also get to play some very nice courses and chat to, and develop friendships with, some very amiable and like-minded people. Ray Davidson-Carr, our intrepid team leader, is always keen to see more people joining the group. Let me say quite emphatically that you do NOT require to be a star golfer to join in -- I play, for goodness sake! So if you’re concerned that you might not be up to the mark – don’t be! If you’re 55 or over, no longer in full-time employment and you feel that you’d like to join in, just put your name down on the list in the Gents locker room (usually the left hand side of the board) or speak to Ray, or indeed myself. These really are enjoyable days! So come on – get your name down!!
Talking of Gents Seniors golf, it’s great to see just how popular our Seniors Open event has become. Played in early September, this year’s list was already fully subscribed by March. Indeed, we have our highest ever number of participants with 152 entries already confirmed. Compared with similar events around the region this really is bucking the trend. To me it clearly shows that, here at Buchanan, we most certainly have something that people value. Well done Ray and keep up the good work!
And in Conclusion. . . . .
There is so much happening that I could go on for ages yet, but, conscious that my ability to transmit probably greatly exceeds your patience to receive, let me bring this month’s note to an end by saying to those of you who have joined us fairly recently, do please come up and have a chat with me. I would welcome the opportunity to meet you and indeed, if we can make the diaries fit, I would be delighted to have a round with you. (In case you don’t know me, I bear a passing resemblance to the chap in the photograph on the Clubhouse wall!)
Till next month then, may the sun shine on your outings, may the golfing gremlins stay clear of your game and may all your putts be gimmies. But, as ever, the name of the game is -- enjoy!
Alistair Hope and Mary Hunter-Toner - Winners of the 2013 Elder McLean Trophy.
LADIES SOCIAL EVENT
On Thursday 28th March, around 40 Ladies attended the annual Ladies’ Captain’s Social Evening. After a very enjoyable meal, the Ladies listened to a very moving talk from the speaker for the evening, May Nicholson, the Director of the Preshal Trust. (The Preshal Trust is a charity which helps homeless people, drug addicts, alcoholics and people with literacy problems and low self-esteem in the Linthouse area of Glasgow.) May spoke of her own amazing life experiences and her involvement with the Trust.
The evening was a great success and just over £100 was collected for the charity.
A word from the Captain
The new golfing season is upon us at last. While winter has yet again been unkind to us, particularly with the excessive rainfall we experienced, we have emerged, relatively unscathed, into what we all hope is the sunnier uplands of Spring and Summer.
While growth on the fairways has undoubtedly been slow to get underway, we are now beginning to see real signs of the underlying quality of the course starting to show through. As ever, we should spare a thought for Ronnie Myles, our Course Manager, and his team of Greens staff who have worked diligently and effectively, under what must have been extremely trying conditions, to ensure that we have the best possible start to our season. I am delighted to see that their hard work is beginning to pay off, with the greens in particular starting both to look good and, most importantly, play well.
We are again looking forward to a busy golfing season at the Club, with competitive events being available to play in practically every week of the golfing year. Of course, there is also the usual goodly number of social and mixed competitions such as the Walker Glass Trophy, played for in May between a team representing the Ladies and a team representing the Gentlemen; a mixed Greensomes competition, the Elder Maclean Salver, played in June; and, in July, the Mixed Texas Scramble. This is just a small sample of what is available. There are many events of this type, each of which is both interesting and enjoyable to play. They are all laid out in the fixture diary. If you have not played in these before or it’s been a while since you last entered, why not give it a go this year? They really are good fun and we would love to see as many people as possible joining in!
One of the events I’m personally rather looking forward to is the Professional’s Day on the 6th of July, when we’re going to make a full day of it with golf, BBQ,s, Hog Roast and an evening with a jazz band playing. Here’s hoping the weather gremlins don’t get in the way – even if they do, it will still be a great day. Roll on summer!
Of course before all that comes around we have one of our highlight events of the year. Our Pro-Am is taking place on Saturday 18th May. While there is a reasonably full field already, there is always room for more. So if you would like to field a team, please contact John Shaftoe or Miller Hatton.
There are many benefits to being a Member of Buchanan Castle. One which is often overlooked is the fact that Buchanan Castle is a member of the James Braid Association. This gives Members the right to play a great many Courses around the UK at significantly reduced visitors’ rates. Having taken up the opportunity myself on several occasions, I can thoroughly recommend making use of this excellent facility. A full list of the participating clubs is attached to the main notice board in the Clubhouse.
As we all know, our calendar of events is a busy one, both on and off the Course. We always welcome members who are interested in helping us keep things moving along. If you are interested in assisting in any aspect of Club activities please don’t hesitate to speak to me or any member of the Committee. Being involved in the running of the Club can be good fun too!
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome all our new members to Buchanan Castle. I sincerely hope you enjoy your time at the Club as much as I have done over the years and I look forward to meeting and perhaps playing with you over the coming season.
Let me conclude by wishing all our members a successful, satisfying and fruitful golfing season, but above all I really hope that you find it truly enjoyable and rewarding.
BUCHANAN CASTLE GOLF CLUB
FRIDAY 19TH JULY 2013
Buchanan Castle Golf Club is delighted to announce that they are hosting a Lee Westwood Tour Junior event on Friday 19th July 2013. The event is part of a new and exciting golf tour for junior golfers. It will provide an opportunity for young golfers to play a tour just like their golfing heroes.
This yet again confirms Buchanan Castle Golf Club’s commitment to Junior Golf. As well as their ongoing support of the Clubgolf programme which involves delivering within the local primary schools the Club hosted the Scottish Under 14's Championship in 2012.