Sally Watson, Gary Watt, Jeremy Matte
Azalea cocktails, Peach Cobbler and some sparkling golf. It can only mean one much-anticipated sporting event – the Castle Stuart Cardholders’ Day.
For our ninth corporate day, we went with a Masters theme and had a great turnout of 35 participants representing 14 companies. All safely negotiated the clubhouse stairs beforehand, avoiding a Johnson-esque pre-match disaster, to enjoy an American flavoured lunch of chicken wings, sausage biscuits and those Augusta-inspired cocktails.
Before heading for the course, guests were able to talk tactics with Ladies European Tour professional, Sally Watson, a Castle Stuart ambassador, who was visiting the course while preparing for her first tournament of the season in Morocco next week.
A strong wind provided a ready-made excuse for players rusty at the start of the season, but play soon got under way with Castle Stuart golfers ‘paired’ with a randomly-drawn pro taking part in the Masters. Their combined Stableford score would determine our winner as events unfolded on either side of the Atlantic.
In the end, Gary Watt (Orion Group), partnered with Justin Rose, won the Cardholders Quaich with a combined score of 77 points. It was the third victory for Orion Group in the nine times the competition has been played since our opening in 2009.
Second with 71 points (BIH of 35) was Douglas Chancellor (Barchester), paired with Billy Hurley III, edging out defending champion Graham Nicolson (Tomatin) with Francesco Molinari, who also scored 71 points.
David Rankin (MacDonald Partnership) won the prize for the nearest the pin competition at the Par 3 4th hole and Marino Keith (Xeretec) took the prize for nearest the pin in two at the Par 4 16th.
In the Beat the Pro contests at the 8th hole, 12 of the 35 players managed the unlikely feat of bettering the tee shot of Sally Watson, earning themselves a prize of new golf balls.
After receiving a bit of a battering from the Moray Firth breeze, the clubhouse was a welcome haven for our guests who dined in style on Chef’s paella and Peach Cobbler, accompanied by a choice of wines from in-house sommelier and general manager Stuart McColm….and more cocktails.
Sally then gave us an insight into life on the pro golf tour, her time at Stanford University and her association with Castle Stuart, which has been a sponsor since she turned professional.
During a Q&A session she also expertly and informatively answered a wide range of questions ranging from the Lexi Thompson Trial by Television incident to course management skills and from slow play to the debate on playability of courses. She also revealed her tip for this year’s Master champion is Justin Rose, so watch this space.
Another great day on and off the course and a fantastic way to get the 2017 season at Castle Stuart officially under way. Thanks to everyone for taking part and I look forward to seeing you on the course in the coming weeks.