In exciting news for the domestic competitive game, Golf Monthly has been confirmed as title sponsor of the final three events of the North East of Scotland Golfers' Alliance season, set to take place in March.
To be known as the “Golf Monthly Final Series,” the first two of those final three events will be the North East Alliance Championship held in consecutive weeks at Portlethen and Craibstone Golf Clubs. The third and final event will be a season-ending tournament at Ellon GC, the format of which is yet to be confirmed.
As part of their support, Golf Monthly will boost the prize money on offer in each of the categories at each of the three events. Alliance secretaries Dave MacKay and Dave Wilson have done a sterling job in securing sponsorship for many of the tournaments on the North East Alliance schedule for 2015/16, raising the prestige and prominence of the circuit.
The North East Alliance visits a different course every Wednesday from early September to late March, with a month or so off around Christmas. It’s open to amateurs and professionals, with prizes for the best scratch scores as well as in two handicap divisions.
It’s well supported with an average of just under 100 entrants per week, all of whom display a never-say-die attitude of, “if the course is open, we’re playing!”
The events attract a broad spectrum of golfers: from Major champions (Paul Lawrie is a frequent entrant when his schedule allows) to Tartan Tour stars (Greig Hutcheon is tough to beat when his name is on the start sheet) to aspiring young professionals (there’s always a strong representation from the Paul Lawrie elite stable) right down to keen club golfers with a spread of handicaps, from plus figures up into the teens.
Paul Lawrie swing sequence:
All those who enter though share an enjoyment of playing competitively and battling the conditions to return the best score they possibly can. And the scoring can be pretty impressive:
So far in 2015: Winning totals have included a 62 by Greig Hutcheon at Cruden Bay, a 63 by two-time Scottish Amateur champion David Law at Banchory and 65s from young Craig Lawrie and Kevin Duncan at Fraserburgh. In that latter event, Craig’s dad Paul finished two shots back.
The 36-hole North East Alliance Championship for the Uniroyal Quaich is a prestigious scratch event that can be won by both amateurs and professionals. Defending champion is John Duff who won twice as an amateur playing out of Newmachar, but has now turned professional.
Further silverware up for grabs in the Championship includes: The JK Hall Quaich for leading amateur (scratch;) the Chapper’s Pot for Class 1 handicap and the Major’s Pot for Class 2 handicap. Defending champions are, respectively, Nick Macandrew of Royal Aberdeen, Stewart Allison of Caledonian and Nigel Parker of Murcar Links.
Check back on this section of the website for updates on the scoring in the Golf Monthly Final Series, event dates as follows:
Weds 9th March: Championship round 1 at Portlethen Weds 16th March: Championship round 2 at Craibstone Weds 23rd March: Season-ender at Ellon
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Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly.
Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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