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.

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.

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 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 other 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 M Johnson
Captain, ALCGA