After several months of golf in the raw, members shivering under four layers to complete eighteen holes in sub zero temperatures, Stonehaven Golf Club now puts behind it the shadow boxing that is the winter league, and plunges headlong into the summer season. It’s been a long winter but that’s history, now it’s time for Pimms & lemonade on the veranda, sunshades and of course, golf until the cows come home.
The fixture list at SGC is chocka this year, right up until the end of October, providing its members with seven months of golfing heaven (or golfing hell if you’ve got a dose of the yips, duffs and shanks), men, women and children convening to share their communal love of this wonderful game. Golf is the greatest sport known to humankind, fact, and never more enjoyable than when played at Stonehaven Golf Club, a venue where all manner of swings and styles propel golf balls around the beautiful north eastern coast. There are some ‘unique’ golf swings up there let me tell you, some akin to an octopus falling from a tree, but regardless of proficiency we all love our golf and revel in our time up there, whether shooting a stern faced 65 or simply interrupting a good walk with ninety or so indelicate swishes of the arms.
But returning to the winter league just for a moment, that curtain raiser of an event before the real deal begins, it would be remiss of me not to congratulate the respective league winners. These people dedicated upwards of a dozen freezing weekends to earn their trophies and we salute them. (I share their pain having myself entered the winter league doubles competition this season, only to be lamentably let down by a partner incapable of distinguishing, it would seem, one end of a golf club from the other, but that’s another story for another day).
Hats off then, and hearty congratulations, to….
Singles – Matthew Cockerell
Scratch Doubles – Kevin Riddell / Ross McAllan
Handicap Doubles – David Bell / Ramsay Bell
I don’t know what the first prize was but it ought to have been an oil fuelled heater so they can defrost themselves. There was more than one occasion this winter when the cold almost brought me to tears, or was it my perpetual exocet blading from thirty yards? Either way, I wanted my Mummy.
We look forward now to blue skies, tropical temperatures and golf in short sleeve order, ray bans, sun cream and baseball caps the order of the day. In the men’s section alone there are well over fifty competitions to be vied for, providing enough silverware to fill Stonehaven’s outdoor pool twice over. We have our ‘major’ trophies, those titles boasting a loftier status than others, and a catalogue of lower level events with which to refresh your handicap and earn brief moments of satisfaction should you feature on the leaderboard. For my part I play in any competition that’s going and couldn’t care less whether there’s a trophy on offer or not, but it’s fun watching the weaklings routinely bottling the big events while comfortably notching 36 points every Stableford. You know who you are.
The highlight of any season is the club championship and for the Men’s section, the fourth and final round takes place on June 25th. Pardon the immodesty but this year I fully expect to be crowned champion, most probably by a margin of ten shots or thereabouts. I’m talking bare feet scratch golf here, not your apologetic, half soaked handicapped version where you can win the title despite failing to break 80 in any of your four rounds. No, I’ll be competing in the proper club championship, my short game is taking shape and once I stop three jabbing, pulling my drives and thinning my long irons I fully expect to secure the title.
There are three other club championships of course; the final round of the Ladies Championship to be contested on June 20th, Male Seniors July 23rd and the Junior Championship July 27th. I won one of these three competitions back in 1986 and propose to win one of the others too before I meet my maker, but if I complete the full sweep I feel there’ll be questions asked.
Whatever your sporting poison is, I hope you enjoy it this year more than any other. This pesky epidemic has put us through the wringer and finally the light at the end of the tunnel appears not to be in the shape of an oncoming train. Stonehaven boasts many clubs covering a myriad of sports, why not get out there, enjoy yourselves to the max, get that heart rate moving and let it all hang out. You’ll be glad you did. Us golfing nerds are all stripped and ready for action, it’s your time too, enjoy it cos you live only once.