IT’S been a difficult few months for everyone at Eyemouth Golf Club. As well as a serious fire the members and staff have had to come to terms with the sudden death of greenkeeper Mark Pagan and preparing to host the Scottish Girls’ Championships.
The golf club was the scene of high drama when a blaze took hold of a greenkeeping shed. The building’s roof collapsed, seriously injuring 44-year-old firefighter David Melrose in the process.
The blaze started at around 5.30am and local firefighters and their colleagues from further afield were called to the club at Gunsgreen Hill. Seven engines and 35 staff attended in total.
As the situation became more dangerous, crews donned protective clothing to protect them from the threat of chemicals, owing to the fact that the shed housed green keeper’s equipment, including pesticides.
The fire meant club officials only had days to prepare for the Scottish Girls’ Championships.
Former club captain Bob Wortley said: “To be honest it was touch and go at one point as to whether the Championships would be able to go ahead as the building where the fire took place held a lot of our equipment.
“With fears about a potential chemical threat, the top half of the course was sterilised so it could be cleaned and inspected before the public were allowed in again. We wouldn’t have been ready if it wasn’t for the invaluable support we’ve had from our suppliers: Thorn Trees; Thomas Sherriff; Fairways and Nixons who all turned up trumps and rapidly got loan machines to us and helped enormously to keep our plans for the Championship alive.
“All the local golf clubs were fantastic, too, and offered help in many forms. Special thanks to Goswick, The Hirsel and Magdalene Fields for their help and to all the others for the kind offers.”
With all hands to the pumps, Eyemouth pulled through and welcomed a field of 60 young ladies, all below the age of 18, for the six-day tournament which included a practice round.
And following a week of excellent golf, the championship final was won by Lesley Atkins, a junior member of Gullane Ladies Golf Club and the No 7 seed in the tournament who beat qualifier, Kate McIntosh (Broomieknowe) 5 and 4.
The high winds of earlier in the week had subsided and Lesley, the youngest ever Borders women’s county champion, when she was a member at Minto Golf Club, was level par for the 14 holes played. Kate had beaten the eighth, ninth, first and fourth seeds to reach the final.
As an Under-10 tennis player Lesley won several competitions throughout Scotland and represented the South of Scotland before “retiring” from tennis at a very early age.
She has been capped for Scotland regularly at table tennis and held the Scottish Under-15 girls’ and the Scottish schools’ Under-16 girls’ titles. In addition, she is a strong, competitive swimmer. She was the Teviot Turbos Swimming Club age group champion and a finalist at the Scottish schools swimming championships.
At golf, only a few months after taking up the game, she won the UK Wee Wonders’ age group title at the age of eight, which led to a trip to the United States. More recently she won the Scottish Under-14 girls’ championship. She is a golf scholarship student at Loretto School, Musselburgh and may go to a United States university when she is old enough.
At the presentation ceremony, the 2010 captain at Eyemouth, John Davison said: “It has been a pleasure to host these exceptional young ladies and we would be delighted to host this event again in the future,” a sentiment echoed by his wife Janis, this year’s lady captain at the club.
The President of the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association thanked Eyemouth Golf Club and its members for their warm welcome to the competitors and officials. There was special praise for the Greens’ Team for their hard work and long hours.
The golf committee at Eyemouth wishes to thank all members for their patience and understanding for the disruption caused to their normal golfing activities.
Kate McIntosh (Broomieknowe) bt Rachael Watton (Mortonhall) 3 and 1, Gemma Dryburgh (IMG Golf Academy) bt Rachel Polson (Peterculter) 4 and 2, Gabrielle MacDonald (Craigielaw) bt Hannah McCook (Abernethy) 3 and 2 and Lesley Atkins (Gullane Ladies) bt Eilidh Briggs (Kilmacolm) 5 and 3
McIntosh bt Dryburgh 6 and 5
Atkins bt MacDonald 2 and 1
Final (18 holes)
Atkins bt McIntosh 5 and 4