THE 2011 season is currently getting revved up in clubs around West Lothian and golfers are largely taking advantage of the good weather to put in some fine returns.
A couple of ladies in the county have been making their mark with new Greenburn captain Marjory Gillies hitting a cracker off the first tee, driving herself into office, after making a wee speech in poetry form to the appreciative crowd and at Linlithgow their Opening Day event was won by Margo Gardner, leaving the men in her wake with an 80-15=65.
Greenburn, after Marjory's efforts, played a nine hole Texas Scramble , 14 teams competed, with James Johnston's four taking top spot.
The following day there were no fewer than three trophies on offer with each of the handicap sections in action.
In the first class it was club greenkeeper Sandy Stewart in good early season form who lifted the Russell Trophy for his 70-5=65, three better than joint runners up Tom Smillie (6) and Steven Goldie (3).
Then in the second class the Smillie clan did one better — it was a great day for them though the lads are not related — where Stuart of that ilk took the Greenhorn Trophy for his stunning 74-12=62, five ahead of Jim Timmins (10).
And in the third class it was another Smillie, Gary this time, who took top spot and the Chalmers Shield for his 83-17=66, three better than Willie Heggie.
Pumpherston had got things off and running the week before with Alan Duthie winning their opening Stableford, amassing 39 points in the end, despite a poor 5,7,5 start. Linlithgowshire Secretary Bill Thomas was only one point off the pace in second after a purple patch over the last three holes of birdie, eagle, birdie.
The following day it was Allan Brown who won the Welch Cup with his 82-17=65 by a shot from Gordon Bishop.
Then on Saturday there was a three way tie at the top for the April Medal on 67 net. Sean Summers off six won with A Rafferty (14) second and G Robertson (14) third.
Over the road at Uphall their Opening Day for the Turnbull Trophy was won by John McDermott with a return of 76-11=65.
William Pullar off 19 handicap has led the qualifiers at Bo'ness in the West Lothian club's John Laing Qualifying with a 68 net though only on a countback from Roy Murray (6).
And in the qualifying for the Hunt Cup it was C Pearson just ahead of a three man pile-up in second spot.
Meanwhile down the hill at Linlithgow it was, as was reported earlier, Margo Gardner who won the club's Opening Day on Saturday by a shot with her net 65 from Robert Hogg (10) and Andrew Corr (5).
An early season stableford at Niddry Castle has been won by Alex Menzies with 38 points.
In their April Medal for the lower handicap competitors it was Steve Cherry at the top with 70-5=65.
In the Shield for the higher handicappers it was a triple tie with Richard Hawkes (13) getting the nod after the countback from both Willie Horne (13) and John Forbes (17). They were on the 67 net mark.
It was Stephen Wilson who capped a fine winter's play by winning the Deer Park club's Winter League with William Whitefield, second, Brian Thomson, third and Johan Wessels fourth.
And when the season opened at Carmondean it was Colin Broadley who took first spot with 39 stableford points.
It was wet and windy when the Harburn Ladies assembled last Tuesday evening to kick off their season with a nine hole Stableford. Hazel Deerness was top with 16 points one ahead of second placed Shelagh Lee and two better than third Anne Stokes.
The Boys' Championship started in typically blustery conditions at Dunbar on Monday and, as I write, both Bathgate lads had good wins, Louis Gaughan by 3/2 and Greg Miller by 6/4 but Andy Loch of Pumpherston went out at the first extra hole while West Lothian's Gordon Cowen got a wee lesson to the tune of 6/5 later in the day.
Just a final note on the Craigmillar Park Open which was played for over 72 holes at the weekend. A 60 was recorded by the Lundin internationalist James White and there were a couple of 61's as well. Two 69's would not have made the cut. Some standard, though it makes you wonder what the Charl Schwartzels and Lee Westwoods of this world would have done to the course. Golf occupies a different world from even 25 years ago.