Thursday, August 27, 2020

THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - Ayrshire pair bow out in matchplay round 2

The Ayrshire duo of Ruben Lindsay (Ayr Belleisle) and Stuart Easton (Irvine) bowed out in round two of the matchplay stages of the 2020 Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale on the afternoon of Thursday  27th August.

Lindsay, who led the qualifiers for the matchplay stages, faced Ilari Saulo of Finland who had won through a first round tie in the morning, but was beaten 2 & 1.

Stuart Easton was up against Joe Harvey from England and lost out by a single hole in his bid for a place in the last 32.

Of the seven Scots who qualified for the matchplay stages, only Connor Wilson (Castle Park) and Darren Howie (Peebles) made it through to the third round, which continues on Friday morning. 

WOMAN'S AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - Hazel McGarvie bows out in first round of matchplay

Hazel McGarvie (Royal Troon) bowed out of the 2020 Woman's Amateur Championship at West Lancashire GC on Thursday morning, 27th August.

Playing England's Thalia Kirby (Stoke Park), Mcgarvie was all square with three holes to play but lost the sixteenth and seventeenth to exit the championship with a 2&1 defeat.

THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - Ruben Lindsay leads the qualifiers at Royal Birkdale

Ruben Lindsay (Ayr Belleisle) led the qualifiers for the matchplay stages of the 2020 Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale, with the two round strokeplay qualifying being reduced to just one round following the abandonment of play on Tuesday 25th August.

In Wednesday's strokeplay qualifying round, Lindsay had four birdies and an eagle with just two bogeys in a four under par round of  67 to lead the qualifiers for the matchplay, where he was joined by six other Scots including fellow Ayrshireman Stuart Easton (Irvine) who returned a two over par score of 73 to qualify in tied 18th place.

The other Scots who qualified for the matchplay stages were James Wilson (Balmore), Connor Wilson (Castle Park), Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill), Darren Howie (Peebles) and Andrew Davidson (Charlton)

With the cut falling at 76, five over par, ten Scots failed to qualify for the matchplay stages, including Jack Broun (Turnberry) who missed out by three shots with a seven over par score of 78.

Four first round matchplay ties to be completed on Thursday morning, and Ruben Lindsay must wait to find out his second round opponent, who he is due to play at 12.27 on Thuersday afternoon.

Stuart Easton tees off at 09.04 in his second round match against Englishman Joe Harvey (The Kendleshire).

The matchplay rounds continue over the next four days, with the 36 hole final scheduled to take place on Sunday 30th August. 

In the Woman's Amateur Championship, also being played this week at the West Lancashire Golf Club, the opening days play in the strokeplay qualifying on Tuesday was also abandoned and the strokeplay qualifying reduced to a single round on Wednesday.

The seven Scots who qualified for the matchplay stages, with the cut falling at 78, six over par, included Ayrshire's Hazel McGarvie (Royal Troon) who was the second best of the Scottish qualifiers with a one over par round of 73 in which four bogeys were offset by three birdies during the round.

The other Scots qualifiers were Clara Young (North Berwick), Hannah Darling (Broomieknowe), Jasmine Mackintosh (Murcar Links), Lorna McClymont (Milngavie), Chloe Goadby (St Regulus) and Penelope Brown (Auchterarder).

In the first round of the matchplay on Thursday morning, Hazel McGarvie tees off at 0746 against England's Thalia Kirby (Stoke Park).

The matchplay rounds continue over the next three days with the 18 hole final scheduled to be completed on the afternoon of Saturday 29th August.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

WEST OF SCOTLAND INTER COUNTY LEAGUES - All fixtures abandoned for 2020

The six West of Scotland Area Associations recently took the difficult decision to cancel all the scheduled West of Scotland Inter County fixtures for 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in place.

The Under 18 Boys' League fixtures had already been cancelled earlier in the season, at the height of the lockdown restrictions, and the West of Sctland Strokeplay Championship and West of Scotland Boys' Championships were also subsequently cancelled.

The West of Scotland A and Youths leagues were due to commence in mid September but taking a number of factors into account, including the present COVID-19 restrictions and the position of potential host clubs and their own condensed fixture arrangements this season and need to make as many tee times available to their membership, it was concluded that the most equitable way forward was to abandon all the West of Scotland fixtures for 2020. 

It is sincerely hoped the the full programme will go ahead in 2021

SCOTTISH GOLF - Latest advice on easing of COVID-19 restrictions

 Scottish Golf have recently clarified the latest easing of  

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COVID- 19 restrictions relating to golf clubs, including identifying Monday 31st August as the scheduled date for clubhouse locker rooms and indoor driving ranges to be reopened, as well as the resumption of outdoor coaching arrangements. 

Latest advise has also outlined changes in requirements for clubs providing catering services and clarified the position in respect of fourball groups going on to use the facilities in a clubhouse setting.

Details of the latest two releases by Scottish Golf are reproduced below:-

Scottish Golf wishes to make all affiliated clubs aware of new changes made to the Scottish Government's regulations for hospitality settings.

Effective immediately, it is now mandatory for hospitality venues to collect contact details of visitors to their premises in support of Test and Protect. The new regulations apply to all restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels in which food or drink are sold for consumption on the premises. 

Businesses must now record the name and contact number of an individual - or lead member of each household in a group - that visits the premises. They must also record the date of visit, the time of arrival, and where possible the departure time. 

For golfers checking in for food or drink in clubhouses before play, they should check out when they take to the course, and back in again should they visit the clubhouse following their round.

The new regulations include customers, staff working on a particular day and visitors such as delivery drivers or cleaners. Premises must store the information for 21 days and share it when requested to do so by public health officers within 24 hours.

New statutory guidance for the hospitality sector has been published which explains how to keep a record of customer and visitor contact details securely ensuring data protection principles are upheld. To view this guidance, please click here. 

The Scottish Government has also published updated guidance for hospitality customers to reinforce key safety measures. To view this guidance, please click here.

This includes the need to maintain physical distancing and the strict limits on the number of households that can meet at a time - 8 people from up to 3 households indoors and 15 people from up to 5 households outdoors.

While 4-balls from four households is permitted, it is important to note that this is not the case in clubhouse settings. We recognise this will pose clubs with a significant challenge but ask for your cooperation in adhering to the latest guidance to ensure everyone can continue to enjoy clubhouses being open at a time when the virus is still in circulation. 

Following the First Minister's update on Thursday 20 August, Scottish Golf is now in a position to provide all Clubs with an updated version of our Phase 3 Guidance for all Golf Clubs and Golfers. 

The following changes are effective:

From Monday 24 August: 

Outdoor coaching activity in groups of up to 30 will be permitted. 

From Monday 31 August: 

Access to indoor locker rooms and storage areas is permitted for the dropping off and collection of sports equipment or clothing.  The golf club should ensure mitigating actions are put in place to minimise the risk of virus transmission including physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning measures. 

Indoor Driving Ranges may re-open and facilities should ensure mitigating actions are put in place to minimise the risk of virus transmission including physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning measures.

AYRSHIRE CHAMPIONSHIPS - 2020 events abandoned due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation

The Ayrshire Golf Association Executive recently took the difficult decision to abandon all the 2020 Ayrshire Championships, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Going forward with some events was considered, however a number of factors including the identification of venues and consideration of club members, who have already suffered courses being unavailable for much of the season and are now trying to catch up with club fixtures, when potentially requesting courses to hold county events.

The events primarily affected are the Ayrshire Strokeplay Championship, Ayrshire Matchplay Championship, Ayrshire Seniors Championship, Ayrshire Club Championship, Ayrshire Boys Championship and Ayrshire Boys Matchplay Championship. 

The executive hope that potential competitors and clubs alike will appreciate that much thought was given to the matter before the decision to abandon the fixtures was taken, and sincerely hope that a full programme of events will return in 2021.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

BILL DOWIE - Former Ayrshire Golf Association President passes away


Golfers in Ayrshire, throughout Scotland and beyond will be saddened to learn of the passing, on Tuesday 11th August 2020, of former Ayrshire Golf Association President Bill Dowie of Ballochmyle Golf Club.

A Past Captain and Club Champion of his home club, and latterly Honorary President at Ballochmyle, Bill was well known in Scottish golf circles as well as in his home county.

Bill joined the Ayrshire Golf Association Executive in the 1980’s where he served for over 20 years, holding the post of Area President from 1990 to 1992. He later went on to represent Ayrshire on the Scottish Golf Union Executive from 1993, holding several positions within the national body, including Convenor of Championships, before retiring from both the Scottish Golf Union and Ayrshire Golf Association Executive positions in 2003.

Bill was a ‘weel kent face’, a friend to many and could always be relied on to take part in lively discussion and speak his mind, especially in golf related matters, whilst always being receptive to other views.

Though burdened with failing eyesight and health in recent years, Bill still retained his keen sense of humour and love for his parent club, despite his health burdens.

Bill Dowie was a good friend to many of the golfing community in Ayrshire, Scotland and beyond, and those who knew him will undoubtedly mourn his passing but will have fond memories of Bill, whom it was a pleasure to consider a good friend over many, many years.

The thoughts of all at the Ayrshire Golf Association are with bill's family and friends at this sad time.


Monday, August 10, 2020

OPEN COMPETITIONS - Scottish Golf give the green light to the resumption of open golf competitions

Scottish Golf have given the go ahead for the resumption of Open Competitions, following recent negotiation over the elaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest statement from Scottish Golf on the subject was published this week, and is reproduced below:-

Since COVID-19 impacted us all back in March, we have worked tirelessly to protect our affiliated clubs, doing everything we could to ensure that all of our clubs survived this terrible crisis. 

Scottish Golf has remained in regular dialogue with the Scottish Government and has participated in the debate with a constant concern for public health and wellbeing, as well as expressing concern of the economic impact the pandemic is having on member clubs.

Our financial relief package has provided clubs with £570,000 worth of affiliation fee rebates and once our assessment process is complete, we will have delivered an additional £685,000 of funding to our affiliated clubs through the R&A club relief fund and COVID-19 fixed costs funds. As previously outlined, we made early decisions around our events and performance plans for 2020 to make these financial provisions.

As stated last week, we lobbied Government in the strongest possible way to resolve the contradictory guidelines in relation to Open Competitions. As has been the case throughout the last few months, through positive dialogue, the Government has taken onboard our representation and we are extremely pleased to advise that our affiliated clubs are now able to host qualifying Open Competitions. 

Our updated guide, with specific information relating to Open competition can be found on the Scottish Golf website. There are a number of additional measures that clubs will need to be cognisant of if they plan to run Open competitions and we ask everyone to ensure that they adhere in full to the steps outlined.  

Whilst this is good news for sport, this is still a public health emergency and the following key points have been highlighted by government in relation to this guidance change:

Organised and sanctioned open competitions must take place behind closed doors with; 

Only competitors and essential competition staff in attendance.

No spectators.

No family members (except for parents or guardians of children or vulnerable adults).

A register of all attendees should be maintained 

Travel to and from competition must not mix households i.e. no car sharing.

There is no shortage of evidence that the virus is still prevalent, and as a sport we must not drop our guard and ensure that we do everything we can to keep our golfers and golf clubs safe.  We urge all of our clubs and their members to comply with all Government Guidelines, both locally and nationally.

It has been a long journey back to this point for golfers and clubs and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part in adhering to the guidelines.

 Kind regards,

Karin Sharp 

Chief Operating Officer