Thursday, 13 May 2021

County Championship: The 2021 Story

I can’t believe it is now eleven days since the prestigious 2021 County Championship ended with Rachel Polson taking home the trophy. Here is the story of how she and other trophy winners got there ...

Vice-captain Olive, Runner-up Robyn, President Ros, Captain Lorna, Champion Rachel

The 2021 County Championship took place at Meldrum House from Friday 30 April until Sunday 02 May.

The Golf

For the Qualifying Round on Friday, the weather brought a day of all seasons – brief sunshine, lots of cloud, wind, bitter coldness, some rain, and a hail shower. Scores reflected the tough weather conditions and the fact that Meldrum House posed a challenging test of golf. In particular, many players found the large, contoured, relatively fast greens very tricky. Perhaps local knowledge of the greens helped five home players to make it the next rounds! Rachel Mathieson (Hazlehead) posted an impressive score of 74 to take leading qualifier position.

Congratulations, Rachel

On Saturday, the Scratch and Handicap match play stages commenced. It was disappointing that current Covid protection levels and restrictions meant that we had to disallow caddies and spectators. However, officials, in particular those of us with the team squad in mind, observed much outstanding golf. Matches were played in great competitive spirit and deserving winners emerged. Full results can be seen under Fixtures on this web page.

Sunday morning saw the final match of the Handicap Trophy with Elaine Pirie (Meldrum House) beating Melanie Clark (Hazlehead) 5&3.

Congratulations, Elaine

The semi-finals of the Championship event also took place on Sunday morning. Both matches were very close. Robyn Fowlie (Forfar) narrowly beat Rachel Mathieson at the 19th, and Rachel Polson (Murcar Links) narrowly beat Carmen Griffiths (Aboyne) 2&1.

Congratulations, Rachel and Carmen, the semi-finalist trophy winners

The stage was set for Sunday afternoon with both Robyn and Rachel  competing in the Championship final for the first time. It was a hard fought match, all square until the 5th where Robyn went one up until Rachel brought it back to all square at the 6th. Rachel birdied the 9th to be one up at the turn until Robyn brought it back to all square with a birdie at the 11th. Rachel birdied the 12th, holed a long putt to birdie the 14th then started to creep away from Robyn. It was a pity that so few of us witnessed the display of excellent golf that ended with Rachel gaining victory at the 16th hole.

Congratulations to finalists Robyn and Rachel in the sunshine beside the 16th green

In Alan Brown’s page in last Tuesday’s Evening Express, Rachel gave her account of her Championship experience. These comments stood out for me:

“I don’t feel as though there is any pressure on me to perform well all of the time any more and my mindset has definitely changed for the better on the course. That being said, I knew this could be the first and only time I reached the final, never mind win it. I had to give myself a bit of a ‘talking to’ and managed to win 14th, 15th and 16th to win the match 4&2.”

“Obviously, I’m absolutely delighted with the win … and a little shocked.” 

I don’t think we are shocked, Rachel, and we are definitely delighted for you.

Congratulations, Champion Rachel

Thanks …

Many thanks must be put on record.

First of all, thanks to Meldrum House. Thanks to:
  • Owners and Directors, in particular Chairman Bob Edwards, for granting ALCGA courtesy of the course, a very significant contribution with 98 rounds of golf taking place over the three days
  • Golf Manager David Mann for his significant support and help in making arrangements to ensure smooth running of our event and Professional Iain Donaldson for his day-to-day assistance
  • Course Manager Kenny Harper and Head Greenkeeper Stewart Addison and their team for their efforts in presenting a beautiful course in excellent condition
  • Lesley Morrison and the catering team for their hospitality
  • Club Vice Captain Mark Kelly for being starter on a very cold Friday morning
  • Club member Liz Barrack for her help on qualifying day
  • Club Captain Scott Mackay – assisted by his daughter Maisy - for refereeing the Championship final. 

Next, thanks to various ALCGA officials and members. Thanks to:
  • Honorary Secretary Karen (Stalker) who refereed the Handicap Final, who deals with entries, the draws, scoring and results, and who decided this year to embark on using Scottish Golf’s VMS (Venue Management System) which required all players’ details to be checked and input so that scores could be processed and published, including live leader boards – quite an achievement – congratulations and huge thanks, Karen
  • President Ros (Roy) for her commitment to welcoming all players to the very cold first tee on Friday and to officiating when prizes were awarded
  • Management Committee member Fiona (Campbell) for her help
  • Selector Zibby (Brown) and Vice-captain Olive (Robb) for talent spotting with me
  • all competitors who, of course, are at the heart of the Championship success story.

Final Comment …

We are very fortunate in Aberdeenshire to have so many enthusiastic, supportive and gifted golfers. Our County Champion is always worthy of the accolade, with Rachel Polson taking that 2021 honour.

The Championship always provides a great opportunity to see many of our potential Jamboree team members in action. We were not disappointed by the standard of golf in 2021.


Lorna M Johnson
Captain, ALCGA