ONLY six lads from local clubs will compete in the Scottish Boys’ Championship at Dunbar in the coming week - perhaps this is best explained by the costs involved to parents in the current climate.
But there is also the little matter of the youngster requiring to have a handicap of five or less to be included amongst the 256 competitors.
No fewer than 22 people in the draw possess a handicap of scratch or better. High standards indeed, and this for a country, the Home of Golf, which has been widely criticised for lagging behind other countries less usually associated with the game (forgetting for a minute the successes of Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird a few days ago).
Anyway, one of the dozen players with a plus mark against his name is Bathgate’s Louis Gaughan and he is West Lothian’s best chance for a run at the title.
His opening match is on Monday before 9am and is a toughie against one handicap Connor Neil from Blairgowrie.
Clubmate Greg Miller is also out early on the first day against Greig Mitchell from Torrance House, and it will be no easy matter for him either as the opposition has a handicap a couple of shots below his while Pumpherston’s Andrew Loch is also out on Monday morning against Sean Burgess of Nairn and again the West Lothian player has a higher handicap.
And it gets no easier with the West Lothian club’s Gordon Cowen also up against it with a tie against, two handicap Callum Beveridge from Troon Wellbeck.
Out on Tuesday morning is Blair Todd of Greenburn and here, for a change, he is a couple of handicap shots better than his opponent, Innes Ferguson of Drumpellier.
Right at the end of the draw, last match out, is Ryan O’Connor of Uphall who will face Dominic Dougan of Colville Park. The lads are the same handicap so another tight game is in prospect.
I wish the boys well in their sojourn. It is always a great week for them.
Harburn finished off its winter campaign and has had its opening day greensomes last week.
In fine form is young club back-marker Michael Burnett who won the Winter Cup with a 67 off scratch to pip E McBride (18) on a countback with C Curran (8) taking third.
The following day the club hosted the Individual Championship for the Midlothian Winter League and once more Michael was the man, with a 69 scratch to take top spot.
Then at the weekend it was the pairing of R Montgomery and D Anderson who lifted the Adam Prentice Opening Day with a 65.5 return.
Bathgate had a busy competitive weekend with a new trophy up for grabs on the Saturday, the Richard Frymann, before opening the season officially the next day with the DM Hunter Trophy.
Saturday was an easier day weatherwise and it was the 40 points of Tommy Cuthbert (5) which won for him the new trophy though only on a countback from big Marty O’Hara.
Then in the opening day itself — here CSS was up a shot on SSS — it was the ever reliable veteran Willie Henderson who came out on top with a grand 72-6=66 to pip both Stevie Hubbard (7) and Keith Manson (13) by a shot.
Meanwhile at Bo’ness they opened its season on Saturday with qualifying for the Melville Bowl. Tough in the wind here with CSS up to 73. The conditions, however, did not seem to deter the leader Andrew Flinn (4) who won by two shots.