Saturday, June 18, 2016

 Hugh Baillie passes away in his 88th year

On the same day as Brora Golf Club staged its Senior Open tournament the club flag was lowered to half mast as a mark of respect and memory of respected senior member Hugh Baillie who, during the night of Thursday/Friday, passed away in his sleep in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

Hugh ,or “Hootie” (pictured right) as he was known to us all, was in his 88th year and in his near 60 years' membership, several of these years as Club President and Secretary, he was recognised as the father of the modern day club.

Much more will be written and recalled of Hugh Baillie over the coming weeks but for the moment and as I sit down to pen my weekly golf coverage I recalled my first article to the Northern Times in the early 1980. 
Hugh had covered both football and golf for our local Raggie and when he stopped the golf coverage I telephoned the then Editor, Jim Henderson to complain of the lack of golf coverage.

He responded with  “You write them and I will print them” so that's how the readers still have me! (new volunteers welcome). I began with a preview of the season's fixtures and started with the opening line, “Saturday sees the start of the open fixtures on the Sutherland courses”.   
I passed it by HB to check over. It came back with my first grammatical correction “SATURDAYS CAN'T SEE”

 I went to him many times since to help with introductory paragraphs to my reports, especially if my own golf was to be given a mention. This and his company in the Golf Club I will miss most. The funeral has been provisionally set for Monday but for now I will return to my golf duties with a sad heart.


Robert Smith, a member of The Nairn golf team of seniors who won the Senior Northern Counties Cup at Royal Dornoch last month, returned the lowest gross score of 72 to win the Brora Seniors' Open, while Roger Thorley of the Stanedge Golf Club in Derbyshire won the Seniors Cup with a nett 67.

Scratch player Smith, into the stiffening wind, easily matched the out par of 35 with a bogey free nine holes, then went three under par with birdies on the 10th,, 13th and 14th holes. A pulled drive to the left of fairway from the 15th tee and a second ball in the same direction blocked his way to the pin on the green and the resulting seven was a big scar on his inward half of 37 for 72. 
However, it bettered by a shot, the 73 (38-35) from Reay's Raymond Taylor.
Taylor's nett 69 progressed him to first place in the low handicap section followed by local George F Sutherland and ex Brora Bobbie, Mike Cormack. In Class Two local Ian Davidson's recent club successes were followed with another handicap-breaking net 68 to get ahead on the better inward half of new clubmate Andrew Smith.

Derbyshire's Thorley took time off from a fishing trip to the River Helmsdale to play so if he had to return his Helmsdale catch he had at least one trophy to take back to his Stanedge Club.
 Playing from handicap 16 he completed his outward half in 40, despite a double bogey on the par five eighth hole, and included two sixes on the inward run for gross 83 and net 67 to deny the locals Davidson and Smith by a shot.

Prize Winners
Scratch (CSS70)
R W Smith (The Nairn) 72; R S Cameron (Brora) 74; B Nicholson (Muir of Ord) 75. 
Class 1 – R S Taylor (Reay) (4) 69; G F Sutherland (Brora) (10), M Cormack (Inverness) (11) 70. 
Class 2 – I Davidson (Brora) (19), A Smith (Brora) (17) 68; F Ogley  (Invergordon) (15) 71.   
Senior Cup – R Thorley (Stanedge) (16) 67.

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