On the Fairways with Bill Tait

Former Rangers goalkeeper Peter McCloy (L) alongside former referee Willie Young (middle) and Willie McDines, chairman of the proceedings.
Former Rangers goalkeeper Peter McCloy (L) alongside former referee Willie Young (middle) and Willie McDines, chairman of the proceedings.

Last Sunday in wet and windy weather with the odd spot of blue in the sky, the final of the George Sprunt Memorial Invitation Sweepstake was played over the Girvan Golf course with some very good scores coming in despite the conditions. Another hole in one was recorded this time by David Taylor who at the 10th. put the ball into the hole with his pitching wedge on his way to winning both the main and scratch trophies. Out of the sixty finalists the top twenty feature on the prize list and wander home with an armful of goodies, well worth struggling around in inclement weather for.

The presentation took place in the Girvan Bowling Club where the ladies were on hand to provide refreshments during the day and a delicious finger buffet in the evening. However before proceedings got under way the highlight of the evening was provided by the guest speaker, that well known raconteur and one time top class football referee Willie Young. Now Willie is a Girvan lad who has made good, well some football mangers may doubt that but he made some courageous decisions on the football field as no doubt many a footballer will testify to. Willie entered the room wearing a Donald Trump mask and pointing his finger in a Lord Sugar fashion at Willie McDines said ‘You’re fired’. Is that a portent of things to come, I think not as my illustrious caddy master is very much part of the furniture at Turnberry. However as you will appreciate Willie entertained his audience with a stream of anecdotes from his playing days along with his interpretation of the funny side of life. A first class performance to the delight of the many who had turned up for the presentation.

Willie McDines, Chairman of proceedings alongside Jill Bone ladies winner, Robert Aird the sponsor, David Taylor the winner of the scratch prize and Chris Fleming, winner of the Caddyshack Trophy.

Willie McDines, Chairman of proceedings alongside Jill Bone ladies winner, Robert Aird the sponsor, David Taylor the winner of the scratch prize and Chris Fleming, winner of the Caddyshack Trophy.

Willie McDines, the Chairman of the proceedings then took over and made a special vote of thanks to Robert Aird of Aird Sakol Chartered Accountants who were the main sponsors and to everyone who donated to the prizes. Thanks were also given to South Ayrshire Council for the use of the course plus the green-keepers for its excellent condition, to Margaret and Stan for providing refreshments etc. for the qualifying rounds and to Girvan Bowling Club for the use of the clubhouse for the presentation and the food provided. The Chairman made a special mention of Stuart White who had worked tirelessly to get everything ship shape including laying out the prizes. Willie McDines called upon David Johnston one of the Girvan men caddying on the main tour to present the George Sprunt Memorial Invitation Sweepstake Trophy to the winner David Taylor of Seafield Golf Club. David Johnstone had been a friend and colleague of George Sprunt for many years until George’s untimely death in an accident in Spain and mentioned what a fun character George had been to be with on the tour. David Taylor in accepting the trophy said that he was very pleased to win this prestigious competition and expressed his appreciation of the Girvan course particularly the greens.

The following came into the top twenty and were delighted to receive their prizes which were presented by Robert Aird the main sponsor. D. Taylor (5)63, C. Fleming (10)64, T. Stewart (18)64, S. Dunn (6)65, G. Mackintosh (4)66, A. Copland (11)67, W. McDines (5)67, W. Roberts (11)67, G. Wilson (7)67, J. MacLachlan (9)67, D. Wilson Jnr. (10)68, J. Brown (6)68, M. Lothian (9)68, W. McCulloch (4)68, R. Johnston (4)69, S. Johnston (5)69, R. Scott (5)69, I. Alexander (4)69, R. McEvoy (5)69, P. Newall (13)70.

Chris Fleming won the Caddyshack Trophy for the best score by one of the ‘round bellies’ as Lee Trevino described them.

The Longest Drive was by John Wilson at the 15th. nearest the pins were as follows nobody managed to hit the green at the 3rd. hole , at the 5th. hole Douglas Wilson Jnr. At the 10th. hole David Taylor scored an ace, at the 14th. hole Gregor Wilson and at the 18th hole Lee McAllan.All the aforementioned received a bottle of spirits

The winners of each qualifying round also received a bottle of spirits, Michael White for round one and B. Bennie for round two.

The Ladies also battled round in the wind although it dare not rain very hard when they play. The winning lady was Jill Bone (22)70 followed by Barbara Aird (10)71 and Donna Hunter (22)72. The latter two ladies normally play their golf at Cathkin Braes.

Barbara Aird was closest to the pin for the ladies at the 18th. hole the ball struck firmly with an eight iron.

The evening finished with everyone looking forward to next year’s tournament.

Every Tuesday the retired gentlemen of Turnberry Golf Club meet for a sociable round of golf and once a year hold a Stableford competition followed by an excellent lunch in the Tappie Toorie restaurant. The winner of the previous year’s competition has the job of organising the following year’s event and this year that fell to Roddy Gardner and he even managed to arrange good weather. Bill Clare came in with the winning score of (11) 38 Stableford points followed by David Gray (14)34 and Ian Brown (14)35. The longest drive at the 18th. went to Peter McKay with nearest the pin at the 12th going to Malcolm Bowden. The whole event was excellently organised by Roddy Grant, the present Turnberry second class champion with everybody going home with a momento of the occasion.

The Turnberry Sunday Medal was won by Martin Pitman (5)69 followed by Campbell Devlin (9)73 and Alaqn Connor (3)76.

The Girvan Golf Club Glendoune Trophy a pairs knock out competition was won by Martin Campbell and Alex Kerr who beat James Baillie and Garry Hilliard in the final. The Doig Trophy, a singles knock out competition, was won by Robert McMaster who beat Garry Hilliard in the final. Our sympathies go to Garry for coming close in both competitions, but there is always next year.


‘Golf, a game in which a ball 1 ½ inches in diameter is placed on a ball eight thousand miles in diameter. The object is to hit the small ball and not the larger.’ An American author surveying the Ryder Cup scene.


Well well, some good news on the Ayr United front as we beat Morton for the second time this season and this time away. This puts us above Morton in the league and we hope that we are in for a winning spell.

An interesting fact for you to ponder over, did you know that Robert Ferguson lost the 1883 Open to Willie Fernie in the extra holes thereby .falling one short of Tom Morris’s record of four consecutive titles. The money in those days was not much and Ferguson later in life ended up penniless working out of the Musselburgh caddyshack. Willie Fernie had a hand in designing both the Girvan and Turnberry courses.

Just remember how fortunate you are to be picking up the occasional winnings and to do that regularly requires a slow methodical swing.