On the Fairways with Bill Tait

In a month’s time we will be half way through the year with plenty of competitions to catch up on after such a wet spring.

The Girvan gents competed for the Alex Thomson trophies on Sunday 18th May which I am reliably informed that the handicap trophy went to Peter McCloy (8)61 with the Scratch trophy falling to Stuart White on 66. These trophies are in memory of a Girvan draper who was also a champion golfer both at Girvan and Turnberry.

The Grant Cup played on Wednesday 21st May was won by Martin Campbell (9)40 Stableford points followed by Alan Copland (11)38, Jack Galloway (9)37, John Madden (10)37 and Jim Brown (5)36.

The Girvan gents competed for the Walter Linton Trophy on Sunday 25th May in very mixed weather. Walter Linton, as many will recall was also a champion golfer as well as being a first class dentist and would have been the first to congratulate Dougie Hamilton on his excellent score of (8)60 to win his trophy. Dougie was followed by Jim Crawford (14)64, Willie McDines (6)65, Peter McCloy (7)65, Bernie Mills (8)65. Bob Cronie (17)65 and David Inglis (12)65

The Girvan ladies played their handicap trophy with Elinor Heggie winning on (12)68 with Roz McCulloch (9)70 runner-up. Roz has now become a serious contender on the course as she is back from holiday and has everyone in Girvan feeling that they are walking on air.


In his book ‘The Round Of My Life’ Sandy Lyle reflects on his slump in form. ‘It can happen very quickly and is very frightening for a golfer who has won a Major title. All of a sudden its not there in the morning. You have just reached the first tee and get butterflies just wondering whether you are going to get through without having a disaster. Then you knock it out of bounds or something and the tournament is over for you after just a few holes. You go to the next tournament and there it is again. You reach the stage where you finally do shoot a good round and you start to question whether it was good golf or pure luck. It takes a very strong mind to shut out such thoughts.’

Come on now put the hankies away as we all remember with great sorrow Sandy’s slump in form but appreciate that the slump was not accompanied by any tantrums or throwing of clubs as Sandy is such a nice character.


I think that I must put readers minds at rest as I am sure that Neil Lennon did not give up Celtic in order to manage Ayr United. Mind you that would really challenge him and with Ayr United’s sparse budget he would struggle to produce a division winning team. But if he did achieve that target, then he really would have something to boast about.

But to golf, it is fairly obvious from the comments in golf magazines and also the adverts for club membership that golf popularity is on a slight downward curve. But the real measurement of the problem will be when the manufacturers stop producing expensive clubs that have been fully tested and researched in the laboratories plus golf balls that really do fly out of sight. That is when you will know that golf really has a problem which will be akin to Miguel Angel Jiminez being reduced to smoking an electric cigarette instead of a cigar. We are nowhere near that stage yet, but it is incumbent upon us to keep golf going as a sport for everyone to play and not just to watch the top professionals compete.

It will not be long before the Open will be upon us. This is the golfers’ top event and many will be considering who will be among their favourites to lift the Claret Jug at Hoylake. On that list will surely be Thomas Bjorn after his six consecutive birdies at Wentworth last Saturday and naturally the winner of the BMW Trophy Rory McIlroy minus fiancee will deserve consideration. However I was very impressed with Shane Lowry at Wentworth who came out of a steep greenside bunker compacted with hard wet sand beautifully. All his approach shots were full of class and I think he will do well at Hoylake..

In 1949 it was agreed that the leading amateur in the Open be presented with a prize in recognition of his achievement. This took the shape of a silver medal; inscribed ‘Golf Champion Trophy -First Amateur’. Frank Stranahan of the US won the inaugural amateurs silver medal and went on to win it again in 1950, 1951 and 1953.. Since 1972 all amateurs competing on the final day, apart from the leading amateur were presented with a bronze medal. That is such a nice gesture as it is some achievement for an amateur to qualify for the Open let alone make the cut to play on the final day. Well worth commemorating. So keep playing golf, you never know what you may take home one day to enhance your mantelpiece.

The older ones amongst us may recall and take hope from the fact that back in 1997 an 85 year old Sam Snead went round the course in Greenbrier in 78 strokes not bad for an elderly gentleman. Sam would no doubt contend that he still had not reached his peak

So keep playing golf as there are I am sure plenty of years left in you..