Following on from the recent Caledonia Best Golf Challenge in Spain, the DRAM decided to ask companies up and down the country, who organise golf events, who the best golfers were in the trade. From the best handicaps to the most frequent players… here are just a few of them!
The names supplied included David Wither of Montpeliers in Edinburgh, Billy Lowe of Saltire Taverns, Jim Tullis of Duddingston Leisure, James McGroarty of Dumbarton’s Abbotsford Hotel, Peter Hilley of The Big Shop in Glenboig, Alan Saunders of the Crown Bar in Bellshill, Chris Crozier of The Georgian in Coatbridge (brother Brenden was on holiday) Brian MacDonald of The Retreat in Perth and Fiona De Vries of the Russell Hotel in St Andrews. Here’s what they had to say to our Q&A.
What is your handicap?
David Wither: 13
James McCroarty: 1
Alan Saunders: 5
Peter Hilley: It’s at nine-and-a-half but it could maybe be lower, we’ll see.
CHRIS Crozier: I got down to 14 for my handicap about two years ago which was the best I’ve been at, but my brother Brendan is quite tasty at the moment.
Brian Macdonald: It’s 20 just now, but I did have it at 14.
Billy Lowe: 10
Fiona de Vries: 2
Jim Tullis: 5.6 – 6
How often do you play?
David: A couple of times a week.
James: Sometimes I get out twice a week, sometimes you just can’t make it out.
Alan: I play about three times
Peter: I play twice a week.
Chris: I probably get out about once a week, but I play in the Vinters every Thursday with other publicans.
Brian: I usually play about once a week.
Billy: As often as possible.
Fiona: There are times I play every day of the week if time and weather permits, but maybe about three times a week on average. During competition season though, I’m out maybe nine times a week.
Jim: Once a week in the winter and twice a week in the summer weather permitting.
What club are you a member of?
Peter: Mount Ellon and Townhead
Fiona: St. Rule
Jim: Archerfield Links
Is it your main hobby, or one of many?
David: It’s my main hobby.
James: Main hobby.
Alan: It’s definitely my main hobby.
Peter: Yes, it is one of may main hobbies.
Chris: It’s a great hobby, but I try to get along to the football as well.
Brian: I do a bit of motor cross as well, so the two of them are the main ones.
Billy: It’s one of many.
Fiona: I curl for Scotland as well, but golf is definitely my main hobby.
Jim: Main hobby.
Do you take it quite seriously?
David: No. I love it, and it frustrates me to death, but you’ve got to keep things in perspective.
James: A few years ago I used to take it seriously, but not so much now.
Alan: I do. I like to enjoy my game, but I take it seriously.
Peter: When you’re playing well, you can’t beat the feeling and I’m playing really well just now, which is great.
Chris: I get quite competitive.
Brian: Not too seriously
Billy: Yes, I did have a handicap of nine, it’s now 10, so my ambition is to get back to 9.
Fiona: My competitive golf I take extremely seriously, but it’s a bit of both when I’m playing socially. I’m a very big golfer. I was a junior internationalist for Scotland, I’ve won the senior internationalist title twice in the last few years, I’m part of the selection committee for Great Britain and Ireland for the Curtis Cup. I want to practice for my competitions, but I make sure to enjoy my game too. It can be all about socialising and the camaraderie though.
Jim: Depends who I’m playing against!
Is there a rivalry between industry peers?
David: Not really, apart from when I’m playing with Billy Lowe and then there’s real rivalry.
Alan: It gets taken quite seriously and it’s a good bit of banter to get one over on someone from the industry.
Peter: It’s taken quite seriously though, there aren’t too many fun games. I play in the Vinters’ game every Thursday, which is an all publican group. If you’ve a wee wager on in a four-ball, there’s £25 a game up for grabs and bragging rights as well of course.
Chris: It gets quite competitive, especially if there’s a wager involved – that’s most of the time to be fair.
Brian: It’s competitive. The guys are competitive in business and the same with golf. There’s no animosity though, it’s all good banter.
Billy: Yes, friendly rivalry but we (David Wither and I) are still trying to get one over on the Blairs (Colin & Kenny)… if only my partner David would practice more! If we keep losing I’m going to suggest that we mix the teams up and I play with one of the brothers. Seriously though, David and I have a great time playing golf, we have so many laughs
Fiona: Not too much. There’s good camaradarie.
Jim: YES – especially against Billy as I can never get a hold of him!! David who is usually my partner, Ian Norman when he is in town, always hard to beat with his dodgy Handicap! Jim Grierson is hard to get onto the golf course as well, but when you do Jim is an accomplished 24 handicap, he has to pack in the football though as he is getting too old for that now!! John Gilligan, who I had the pleasure of partnering at the Caley Golf Day, great golfer with an honest handicap! Graeme Arnott, very hard to beat of his 12 handicapper but great partner to have on your side! John Gemmell is deadly from 100 yards in, if he ever gets there!! He has one of these wedges called the magic! If you can put him off his tee shot, then you’ve got a chance! Think he was a junior champion somewhere in a previous life!
Is it good for business?
David: It’s great for chatting through business and meeting other people from the industry.
James: You get good contacts and it’s a good way to network if you play in the industry events or with guys from the industry.
Alan: Playing against guys in the trade is good and competitive, it’s a good way to catch up with folk and hear about what’s going on in the industry.
Peter: It’s good to get out and talk shop and hear about things going on you didn’t know about. You can hear
about deals and prices from the other publicans, and that’s good for business.
Chris: It’s a great way to get out there and socialise, but it can be a really good networking opportunity. You meet a lot of operators, licensees and folk from the breweries and it can be a really good chance to talk shop. It’s a good chance to speak to other publicans and things like that.
Brian: It’s good for business, you pick up a lot of information and it’s good to see how the other guys are getting on at work, what’s working, what’s not. The brewers days are great days.
Billy: Yes, and the great thing is a lot of them are charity events. The BEN also does them really well. We get to play some great courses and also is great opportunity to meet everybody from managers to owners.
Fiona: The corporate events are very good for business and a great networking opportunity. It’s good to get out there and
Jim: Yes if you are invited to the right event!
Favourite course played/Dream Course?
David: Loch Lomond on a nice day
James: Loch Lomond. It would be a dream course to play, it’s magnificent there.
Alan: I played at one of the Disney course’s in Florida with my son just there. Tiger Woods shot a 62 course record at it. Kingsbarns would be a dream.
Peter: Kingsbarns at St Andrews
Chris: Queens Course, Gleneagles and Augusta.
Brian: Nairn West and my dream course would be Kingsbarns
Billy: I love Kingsbarns, after Archerfield of course. My all time dream course is Peeble Beach in California, but I have just achieved one of my ambitions and that was to play Liberty National in New York.
Fiona: Pebble Beach or Augusta.
Jim: Dream course to play would be Augusta. Not played yet!! Susan, can you organise that for me please?
Most Memorable golfing moment?
David: Any round beating Billy Lowe is very memorable
James: Bayhill with my dad in Florida
Alan: Playing Kingsbarns
Peter: My best round or memory would be winning the competition at Dunbar, which is a great course as well.
Chris: Queen’s Course at Gleneagles with Brendan, our other brother Michael, and my dad.
Billy: My memorable moments mainly consist of me winning the match at the last hole!
Fiona: Being part of a winning European team in the seniors. There were 16 countries there and to win was fantastic.
Jim: Still to happen I hope!