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










Sunday, 5 April 2020

Keeping in Touch - 05 April 2020

It feels to me as if it’s time to catch up with you all, just to say hello, to share a few thoughts and little bits of news …

How are you? I do hope that you are coping with staying at home, whether you are minimising social contact, in isolation, or shielding. Whatever your situation, and given that we tend to be sociable ladies, I’m sure we all agree that it is the strangest thing to be reliant on technological means to keep in touch with family members and friends. Ordinarily I try to limit the amount time I spend on social media but, at the moment, that has changed. Whether it’s idle chat, exchange of videos or clever witticisms to make me laugh, I’m there. I’m almost tempted to join Facebook … do I hear a few laughs at that?

The past weeks saw the cancellation of County Squad practice sessions scheduled at Meldrum House. Today we should be having a 9 hole flag competition. We had one earlier in March when Hannah (Bycroft) was the winner with Robyn (Fowlie) runner up. The week before we had a chipping challenge which was won by Sammy (Leslie) with Donna (Pocock) in second place. Well done to you all.

Other news about Sammy is that her wedding which should have taken place last Friday fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic. She and Dave have postponed their big day until October when the celebration will be ultra-special. Sammy was very stoical about the decision telling me that “the wedding is a drop in the ocean compared to what is going on.”

Many of you will know that Sammy works in the NHS at ARI. You may also know that squad member Shannon (McWilliam) is a home carer. Vice captain Olive (Robb) tells me that the GMC have re-activated her doctor’s licence to practice so she is volunteering to help if needed. I know many others of you are working and volunteering in health and care roles and in other key services that are essential at this time of national emergency. On behalf of ALCGA members, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to you all for your selflessness, caring and commitment.

Continuing on a health theme, I am really pleased to report that immediate past captain Ann (Smart) underwent her final chemotherapy session last week. She has done very well throughout her treatment although she had one scary infection incident, a “wee hiccup” she called it! She tells me that she will have a scan in four weeks then a telephone session with her consultant. She says “Fingers crossed it goes well and chemo has done the trick.” We all have our fingers crossed for you, Ann.

Other recent past captains, Marta (Moody), Margaret (Parkinson) and Sheila (McNaught) had made plans for a Past Officials’ lunch at Deeside Golf Club last Friday. As you would expect in our close-knit community, there was great response. Postponed but not forgotten, the get-together will be rescheduled in due course.

So … how have I been passing my days? Well, I am astonished at how adept I seem to be at frittering hours away. I have enjoyed a lot of time watching wildlife from my garden room window. I have regular daily walks. A few times a week, I am looking after my aged parents both of whom have dementia: my brothers and I decided that, apart from Mum’s carers, I would be the only person visiting their house to provide vital interventions with meals, meds and everyday tasks. I wish I could tell you I’ve been doing my spring cleaning but … mmm not yet!

Of course we are all missing golf and I am aware that many of you have faced the disappointment of cancelled holidays to Turkey and other destinations. Along with the Management Committee, I am continuing to monitor advice about activities through the summer months. As yet, we have made no further decisions about ALCGA events beyond the end of June.

Now … what are your thoughts and news? Please let me know and I will share a selection on the ALCGA website and Facebook. It would be another way of keeping in touch with each other. Please email me at Lorna200LMJ@btinternet.com or message me on mobile 07717 133397.

In the meantime, please take care, stay happy and keep safe.

Lorna

Lorna M Johnson
Captain, ALCGA