It is hard not to record here for posterity that the world is currently facing an unprecedented health crisis in the form of Covid-19, a world wide disease arising from a corona virus that has never previously been identified by medical experts. Readers of this page in future will have plenty of information available to them but this is a short note to set the scene for their review in due course.
That apart, the 2019/20 North East of Scotland Golfers’ Alliance has been a most successful season with no cancellations from September 2019 to March 2020. The only minor blemish was at Strathlene Golf Club on 20 November 2019 when an off-land gale suddenly appeared, leading to an abandonment of the fixture. Ironically, around an hour after that, the rogue gale blew over leaving a gentle breeze! Oldmeldrum did have some problems arising from very wet fairways but advance warning was sufficient to allow a rescheduling to other venues including Newburgh and Peterhead. Our planned visit to Duff House Royal for the first round of the 2019/20 Championship had to be moved to Fraserburgh as conditions at Duff House understandably required the use of mats on fairways and semi rough. Hopefully both clubs will be able to accommodate us at some point next season.
Portlethen Golf Club on the 18th of March 2020 offered a sunny day but with a testing chilly breeze that kept real temperatures not much above freezing. Welcome “visitor” to the event, David Law made the most of his entry fee investment with a ten fold return thanks to an excellent 6 under par 66. Craig Lawrie lead the rest of the field with a 69, just pipping Kris Nicol, cousin Sean Lawrie and Cruden Bay’s touring pro Kevin Duncan by one shot. Honorary Member Paul Lawrie played a paternalistic role on this occasion in shepherding his younger partners with a level par 72.
However, while those successes on the day were rightly celebrated, the event also constituted the second round of the 2019/20 Alliance Championship with the first round completed in the previous week at the Fraserburgh Golf Club. (See results from Fraserburgh GC separately). The two round Championship event is the highlight of the season with the following trophies presented to the best over 36 holes as follows:
The Uniroyal Quaich first played for in 1935 awarded for the lowest 36 hole gross score. Greig Hutcheon and Kris Nicol tied on 141 but an exciting 18 hole play off at Trump International on the next day, 19th of March 2020, meant that Greig was awarded the trophy after a fine 3 under par 69.
The J K Hall Quaich first presented in 1962 is awarded annually to the lowest 36 hole gross score by an amateur. Royal Aberdeen’s Stuart McWilliam shot a most impressive 72/73 – 145 to win by three.
The Chapper’s Pot awarded to the best net 36 hole total by a Class 1 Handicap player was won by Brian Ritchie from the Inverallochy Club with 142.
The Major’s Pot awarded to the best net 36 hole total by a Class 2 Handicap player was won by Graham Thom of Murcar Links with 147. This was Graham’s second trophy win in three years.
Finally, The Veterans’ Pot awarded to the best net score over 36 holes by a member of advanced years was won by Caledonian’s Stewart Finnie on 146. An Alliance prize list without Stewart’s name on it would indeed be a rare thing.
Our final event was due to take place at the 9 hole Kippie Lodge course on Wednesday 25th March. While clubs, pubs and restaurants have been closed down throughout most of Europe and the rest of the world, golf courses remain open subject to “social distancing”. However, the Alliance Committee decided that it was too risky to continue with the event in light of Government guidance. The intention is to schedule the event for March 2021.