On the Fairways with Bill Tait

Prime Minister Arthur Balfour was a keen student and player of the game of golf.
Prime Minister Arthur Balfour was a keen student and player of the game of golf.

The time passes and I am sure that many golfers will not forget the wonderful summer we have had so far. It is many years since we had such good weather, mind you as children the school holidays always seemed to stretch through long hot sunny days, but memories are not always accurate.

However back to the important things in life such as golf which seems to have been forgotten in the mass hysteria over the Commonwealth Games. There will always be some criticism of the Games opening ceremony no matter how it was done, but on the whole I found it to be entertaining with the emphasis on the welcoming friendliness of the Glasgow folk.

Last Sunday the Girvan gents competed for some of the fine spirits that are produced at our local distillery by William Grant & Sons Ltd. who kindly sponsor the event with their wares. The Hendricks Gin competition is run by Girvan Golf Club on behalf of William Grant & Sons and is a very popular tournament. Anyway the cup and a fine bottle of Hendricks Gin goes to the winner Robert McMaster with an excellent score of (5)60

followed by Graeme Andrew (11)61, Willie McMeikan (1)62 and Robert McCluskey (7)62 all of whom will no doubt lift some spirits in particular Willie McMeikan who had the best scratch score of the day with 63.

This coming Sunday 3rd. August will be the Girvan gents Open tournament for the Stevenson Cup which has been in existence since the 1930’s. This is a popular tournament with plenty of prizes thereby attracting entries from far and wide. There are still a few vacancies for anyone wishing to enter and an entry form is on the Club’s notice board in the clubhouse.

The Girvan Golf Club Ladies held their Knockavalley Cup a bogey competition last Wednesday which as you golfers will appreciate is match play against the course. The winner with an excellent score of three holes up was Roz McCulloch narrowly beating ladies Captain Anne Bush who was two holes up with Susan Low level and Elinor Heggie one down.

Last Friday Colleagues, friends and family of the late David Girvan met to play golf over the Girvan course for a cup in his memory. David died some thirty years ago but was a larger than life character who loved his golf. I can remember very clearly stopping at the short ninth hole of the Turnberry Arran Course(now the 6th. of the Kintyre) when David would produce a flask for the four of us to enjoy a ‘wee dram’ on a cold day. All his friends subscribed for a seat to be placed on this spot in his memory. But this competition is played not only to commemorate but to enjoy memories of David Girvan who died prematurely and is open to ladies and gents both young and old with prizes to cover all eventualities. The Survivors trophy for those who cannot manage the hilly part of the course was won by Bill Tait with Jennifer Ramsey runner-up. Jean’s Vase for those past the first flush of youth but still attempting to work was won by Miller Craig, the Seniors Trophy which is for those a wee bit older, but still active on the golf course was won by Lynda Gordon whose golf seems to improve with the passing of the years. But the main trophy the David Girvan Memorial Cup which was won by none other than Jill Bone Vice-Captain of Girvan Golf Club Ladies. The scores are superfluous and with Jenny Morgan picking up a prize for being closest to the pin at the 18th and David Muir Jnr. receiving a prize for having the longest drive at the 15th the prize giving finished with a vote of thanks to the organizers George and Jenny Morgan who have done an excellent job over many years.. But before the prize giving everyone sat down to a scrumptious meal courtesy of ‘Maggie’s Pantry’ and afterwards all went home with happy memories of the event and looking forward to returning next year.


A.J. Balfour when writing in 1890 on golf particularly the mental anguish on holing a tricky putt ‘While, on the whole, playing through the green is the part of the game most trying to the temper, putting is that most trying to the nerves. There is always hope that a bad drive may be redeemed by a fine approach shot, or that a ‘froozle’ with a a brassy may be balanced with a brilliant performance with the iron. Bur when the stage of putting-out has been reached, no further illusions are possible-no place for repentance remains. To succeed in such a case is to win the hole, to fail is to lose it.’ Obviously a man who has probably mastered the finer arts of golf all except for the putts which evades most of us. Anguish as he explains comes from being skillful in reaching the green but can all be lost on the putts.


This hot, sunny weather brings out a series of unusual shorts and sometimes I wish I had carried my camera with me to catch some of them with a variety of pockets bulging with golfing paraphernalia. I saw one American at Turnberry whose shorts had a pair of legs big enough to cover the legs of an elephant, no doubt designed to keep him (not the elephant) cool. Ah well such are the vagaries of golf clothing, there was a comment in an American publication of many years ago which stated that peculiar trousers called ‘Plus Fours’ were de rigueur on the courses in Scotland.

But the brighter the clothes worn makes it easier to be seen, particularly if the wearer is in the flight path of a golf ball.

You will notice that I have not mentioned Ayr United this week but after Saturday’s result it seems that they certainly need to sign some good players before the league season starts this coming Saturday. I do not think they have enough past school age players to field a team.

But all golfers should be out enjoying the sunshine on a course which has been softened after some rain last Sunday, so go for it.