Friday, 29 May 2020

Keeping in Touch – 29 May 2020

Good morning, ladies. How are you? I hope that you and yours are well and ready to take the first cautious and, I’d say, exciting steps back to a new kind of post-lockdown normality.

What a beautiful day for the reopening of our beautiful golf courses. Who knows how rusty my game is going to be? Who cares? It will be just delightful to be out there playing the game with a ‘real’ golfing friend. However, I think it’s just as well I’ll be playing social golf without the pressure of a card in my hand.

In case you need some help as you get back into the swing of things, if relevant to you, please may I remind you of the 2020 Rule Changes in Effect for Golfers Age 60+ that I introduced in my post of 26 April. Here are the others:
Rule 3.B.3 – There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, thereby making it a stolen ball. The senior player is not to compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty.
Rule 4.c.7 – If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Law of Gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.
Rule  5 - Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the Hole. No one wants to make a mockery of the game.
Rule 6.a.9 – There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds”. If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land this would not occur. The senior player deserves an apology, not a penalty.
Rule 7.G.15 – There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float. Senior players should not be penalized for any shortcomings of the manufacturers.
Rule 8.k.9 – Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment. Since this is financially impractical for many senior players, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.

I would love to read any of your ‘back to golf’ stories or see your photos. Please email me at Lorna200LMJ@btinternet.com or message me on 07717 133397.
In the meantime, ENJOY GOLF and KEEP SAFE

Lorna

Lorna M Johnson
Captain, ALCGA

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus: 12 May 2020

Unfortunately, following last week’s announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the continuation in Scotland of the ‘Stay at Home’ instruction, and taking account of the inevitable restrictions that will be in place whenever there is a return to playing golf, I have the disappointing task of telling you that the ALCGA Management Committee and officials have concluded that we must abandon all County competitions for the 2020 season.

In my message of 28 April, I outlined reasons for the cancellation of the Northern Division Inter-County Jamboree and the North of Scotland Championship. The same reasons apply now with regard to our local fixtures. My messages of 21 and 24 March listed competitions that were cancelled then. For clarity, the following competitions are affected by our most recent decision.

·       County Opens that are scheduled in July and August will be cancelled – Kemnay on 02 July, Murcar Links on 13 July, Deeside on 27 July, Newmachar on 31 July, Cruden Bay on 20 August, and Peterculter on 27 August.

·       The Tri-Am competition at Oldmeldrum on 10 July will be cancelled.

·       The Lyon Inter-Club Double Foursomes at Hazlehead MacKenzie on 03-04 August will be cancelled.

·       The Commonwealth Spoons qualifying competition at Kintore on 17 August will be cancelled.

·       The provisionally rescheduled County Championship at Meldrum House on 11-13 September will not take place.

·       The Sheena Wood Rosebowl tournament will not run in 2020. Current qualifiers will go forward to play in 2021.

If you have placed an entry for any of the above events, the relevant Club Rep or Honorary Secretary Karen will be in touch with you.

ALCGA fees will not be payable in 2020. However, we are aware that the collection of fees has been disrupted by lockdown. If you have already paid your £10 annual subscription, we are asking your Club Rep to offer you three options: donate your £10 to County funds towards 2020 expenditure; leave your £10 as early payment of your 2021 subscription; or receive a refund of your £10. If you have not yet paid your £10 subscription, you may still donate £10 via your Club Rep to the County funds. If you have already paid a £10 new or lapsed membership fee, you may choose to carry it forward to 2021 or have a refund. I am sure you will bear with your Club Rep and Honorary Treasurer Carol if there is a delay until it is practicable for them to deal with some of these transactions.

As the summer passes, we will continue to monitor advice and developments. To end on a positive note … if it emerges that there is a possibility of holding a safe event late in the season, we will aim to organise an ad hoc friendly golfing get-together to nurture the spirit and camaraderie of our valued County community.

In the meantime, please take care and keep safe.

Lorna

Lorna M Johnson

Captain, ALCGA

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus: 28 April 2020

During the past week, Jackie Brown, Angus LCGA Captain, and Jillian Milne, Perth & Kinross LCGA Captain, have been communicating with me about the 2020 Northern Division Inter-County Jamboree and the 2020 North of Scotland Championship.

We have been considering advice and developments during this second 3 week period of lockdown. The Scottish Government has said that large gatherings are unlikely to be permitted in the foreseeable future. We know that Scottish Golf has decided to cancel all competitive events, including the County Finals and the Commonwealth Spoons Final.

We are aware that politicians have turned their attention to how we can exit from lockdown without compromising the safety of individuals and the NHS. We read in yesterday’s letter to Member Clubs from Karin Sharp, Scottish Golf’s Chief Operating Officer that “it is highly likely that any return [to golf] will be in phases, with single golfers or household groups in the first instance”. Without knowing what the relaxation of lockdown will entail, it is difficult to plan events.

Within their rationale for cancelling events, Scottish Golf mentions the protection of staff and helper volunteers, the availability of accommodation and catering facilities for participants, and the suitability of temporary playing conditions for championship matches. These issues all apply to our Jamboree and the North of Scotland Championship. Additionally, the sharing of a golf ball in a foursomes game format is potentially hazardous.

Taking account of all these factors, and in the interests of securing the wellbeing of all County members in our division, the following conclusions have been reached:

·        The 2020 Northern Division Inter-County Jamboree at Monifieth Golf Club is cancelled.

·        The 2020 North of Scotland Championship at Blairgowrie Golf Club is cancelled.

·        Angus LCGA will retain current responsibility for the Northern Division Inter-County Jamboree and will host it in 2021 around dates similar to those that were scheduled in June this year.

·        Perth & Kinross LCGA will retain current responsibility for the North of Scotland Championship and will host it in 2021 around dates similar to those that were scheduled in July this year.

It is really disappointing to have had to be involved in making these cancellation decisions and to have to share them with you now. For our Team Squad - especially those players who were aiming for team selection – and for our selector Laura (McLardy), the loss of the Jamboree, a highlight of their golfing season, is especially saddening and frustrating. However, it is pleasing that we Aberdeenshire ladies will have the opportunities to visit our Angus and P&K friends on their home territories for great competitions next year.

As always, please take care and stay safe.

Lorna

Lorna M Johnson
Captain, ALCGA

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Keeping in Touch - 26 April 2020

How are you? I hope that you and yours are staying safe and well during these challenging times when family and friends feel more important than ever but when we can’t meet up with most of them in person. Friday past should have seen the first ALCGA Open of the 2020 season at Ballater Golf Club. Club Reps received a kindly email from Jean Murray, Lady Captain, saying “To all our many friends in the County, we send every good wish, and say how much we will miss seeing you all on Friday. The weather is lovely (honest), still a bit cold but beautiful, and the course looks good.” Jean, it’s such a pity that we couldn’t be there to enjoy ourselves.

Because I depleted my bank of material and ideas when I posted my previous message, I invited Club Reps, the Team Squad, and our Leadership Team, to share their thoughts and news. I was delighted to receive so many responses that I have had to be selective in what I am including today. Thanks to you all, with apologies for not referencing everyone by name.


Wildlife bingo card
Walking with the dog is a popular exercise, but walking and playing bingo - wildlife bingo that is (see photo of bingo card) - is a new suggestion for me from Fiona (Campbell) who tells me that collecting photographic evidence is the not-always-easy requirement before messaging ‘bingo’! Yoga, jazzercise, and pilates are all on the list of activities - I won’t be adopting skipping like Sammy (Leslie). Louise (Anderson) is cycling at 10 mpg, that’s 10 miles per gin! Gardening is on the list as is painting, maybe watercolours for some but the shed for Olive (Robb). We have at least 3 members who are playing the piano – Karen (Stalker) who bought her piano quite recently and has been taking lessons, Laura (McLardy) who has returned to her purchase of 5 years ago, and Susie (MacLeod) who achieved Grade 2 as a child and seeks to progress.


Louise's putting green
Whilst some of us are practising piano playing, others are honing our golfing skills and knowledge. Practice nets have been constructed in gardens and chipping nets put in place. Putting is prominent, outdoors on lawn-converted putting greens (like Louise’s in the photo) or indoors on carpets. Aberdeen Ladies’ putting competition has upturned tees as targets from a socially distant 2 metres - tricky I’m told by Gill (Bruce) who was blaming the carpet for poor performance not the small target! Sammy was in trouble when she took to wedge practice with a foam ball in the lounge and broke the window blind! Some of us are listening to golf podcasts and others are learning the 2020 Rule Changes in Effect for Golfers Age 60+, provided via Carol (Whicher). Here are a few of them:

Rule 9k.34 – If a tree is between the ball and the hole, and the tree is deemed to be younger than the player, then the ball can be moved without penalty. This is so because this is simply a question of timing; when the player was younger, the tree was not there so the player is being penalized because of his age.

Rule 1.a.5 – A ball sliced or hooked into the Rough shall be lifted and placed on the Fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the Rough with no penalty. The senior player should not be penalized for tall grass which ground keepers failed to mow.

Rule 2.d.6 – A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed NOT to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have travelled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there.

Of course, some ladies are still working, many at home. I think Carol (Wilson) and Karen are enjoying their stress-free indoor commutes around the house. Team squad school girls Carmen (Griffiths), Rachel (Mathieson), and Robyn (Fowlie) and university student Annabel (Hosie) are all facing the test of studying at home. Having decided to turn professional, Kimberley (Beveridge) has had her debut hindered by the pandemic. With her police colleagues, Rachel (Polson) takes personal risks to help keep us all safe. As a bus driver, Bev (Pirie) takes personal risks to provide public transport for those reliant on it. Many other members are taking personal risks in frontline health, care and other key services for the benefit of each one of us. I find it humbling and emotional, and thank each one of you, personally and on behalf of ALCGA, for your expertise, compassion, devotion, and willingness.

Technology has to be thanked for providing so many ways of keeping in touch through the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook (I’m still resisting pressure to sign up!), Instagram, WhatsApp video, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Houseparty. Julie (Lees) tells me that Westhill Iadies have been Zooming in to chat and, like others, enjoy quizzes. I hear that Newmachar ladies have been meeting on Zoom too. I’m excited to be joining my first Zoom get-together this afternoon. I still haven’t been to a Houseparty but I did go to a webinar the other week – interesting.

This week, politicians have been starting to say a little more about the way ahead out of lockdown. Perhaps this gives a glimmer of light at the end of what is likely still to be a long tunnel. Although Scottish Golf has cancelled all their 2020 competitions, I am trying to be cautiously optimistic that golf courses will open in some way at some time during the summer months and that some of our later season’s events might survive. For now, along with the Management Committee, I am continuing to monitor advice. Please keep an eye on the website and Facebook for news.

I would love to read more of your stories or see your photos. Please email me at Lorna200LMJ@btinternet.com or message me on 07717 133397. Yvonne (Moir), recently appointed Kemnay Club Captain, tells me that she is sharing old photos with members to inspire memories and encourage reminiscing. We could try that too.

One more thing before I go, thanks to Laura for sending us a ‘postcard’ from her week’s holiday in April. I’ve included it below – enjoy. In the meantime, please take care, stay happy and keep safe.

Lorna

Lorna M Johnson
Captain, ALCGA