Golf: Rothesay gears up for biggest weekend of the year

MEMBERS of Rothesay Golf Club are preparing for the busiest weekend of their year, with the prestigious Bennie Trophy taking place on Saturday, followed by the 25th playing of the Wee Bennie the following day.

The Bennie Trophy, which will be sponsored for a second year by Cowal Building and Plumbing Supplies, was first played for in 1931, having been instigated by George Bennie, a Glasgow engineer who had a house in the High Craigmore area of Rothesay.

Bennie is chiefly remembered - outside of Rothesay, at any rate - as the inventor of the Bennie Railplane, a new form of propellor-driven rail transport which was intended to run above existing railway lines, separating fast passenger traffic from slow freight beneath.

While Bennie’s transport dream failed to attract enough financial support - he was declared bankrupt in 1937, the test track near Milngavie was demolished for the war effort and the railplane itself sold for scrap in 1956 - the Rothesay Golf Club trophy which bears his name lives on, and the 36-hole scratch strokeplay competition has been won by many fine golfers over the years.

The current holder of the trophy is the reigning Rothesay club champion, Graham Bolton, who has won the prize three times in the last four years.

Bolton secured the 2011 title with a score of 138, comprising two rounds of 69, and will be in the first group of players to tee off in this year’s competition at 7.30am on Saturday.

The Wee Bennie, meanwhile, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, having been instigated in 1987 as a way of allowing players with handicaps too high for the main Bennie Trophy to participate in the biggest weekend of the Rothesay golfing year.

And the Wee Bennie, sponsored by local joiner and funeral director Gerry McGuigan, has had its moments in the spotlight too - never more so than in 2009, when Craig Charker scored an amazing two holes in one on his way to winning the competition alongside his brother Hugh.

The current Wee Bennie holders are George Reynolds and Jack Mackirdy, who tee off on Sunday at 9.40am.

The draw for the Bennie Trophy on Saturday is as follows.

7.30am G. Bolton, R. McKirdy, J. Mackirdy; 7.40am free; 7.50am M. Brown, I. Simpson, S. Kernaghan; 8am free; 8.10am J. MacKay, J. Thomson, G. MacKay; 8.20am S. Gaston, G. Hanson, J. Ewing; 8.30am S. McDonald, G. McArthur, T. Reynolds; 8.40am A. Murray, D. Cameron, G. Reynolds; 8.50am T. McCready, I. McMurchie, A. Smith jnr.

9am M. Murty, J. Shaw, Ryan McKirdy; 9.10am R. Donnelly, G. Alexander, C. Mckirdy; 9.20am S. Coyle, G. Brown, J. Duncan; 9.30am C. Nicol, N. Simmons, L. Wylie; 9.40am T. Duncan, A. Hunter, A. Docherty; 9.50 A. Mitchell, C. Strachan, N. Ritchie; 10am G. Morrison, I. Mitchell, I. White; 10.10am O. Morrison, K. Walker, G. Dickson; 10.20am G. Dunn, C. Carson, G. Tyre; 10.30am free; 10.40am free.

The draw for the Wee Bennie on Sunday is as follows.

7.30am I. McMurchie & J. Shaw, A. Docherty & R. More; 7.40am J. Watson & J. Miller, J. Kernaghan & S. Wilson; 7.50am J. Torrance & J. Torrance, D. Torrance & G. Riddell; 8am-8.20am free; 8.30am A.U. Murray & I. Cowie, J. McKirdy & partner; 8.40am free; 8.50am J. MacKay & G. MacKay, G. McArthur & H. Milligan.

9am J. Glen & B. Gemmill, B. Bennett & P. MacKay; 9.10am I. Simpson & J. Thomson, R. McKirdy & A. McDonald; 9.20am free; 9.30am S. Maher & R. McArthur, P. McDonald & partner; 9.40am G. Reynolds & J. Mackirdy, A. Murray & J. Simpson; 9.50am free.

10am W. Leckie & D. Scott, G. Fisher & I. McFarlane; 10.10am C. Nicol & N. Simmons, S. Reynolds & C. McKellar; 10.20am free; 10.30am T. McCready & S. McKechnie, M. Brown & S. Kernaghan; 10.40am S. McDonald & J. Burke, T. Reynolds & C. Hamilton; 10.50am T. Duncan & N. Ritchie, G. Shaw & A. Hunter.

11am G. McGuigan & J. McClean, R. McIntyre & R. Cuthbertson; 11.10am B. McFarlane & S. Strathie, D. Whitelaw & B. McKay; 11.20am S. Hall & D. Hall, K. Dickson & K. Dickson; 11.30am B. Wilson & J. Corrigan, A. Lauchlan & C. Lauchlan; 11.40am G. Hanson & S. Robertson, J. Duncan & D. McArthur; 11.50am M. Dynes & B. Michel, M. Dynes guests.

12 noon H. Charker & C. Charker, M. Dodds & J. Milliken; 12.10pm A. Smith & A. Smith; 12.20pm J. Ewing & G. Fisher, R. McKechnie & D. McDermid; 12.30pm W. Glen & A. McEwing, K. Thomson & E. McTaggart; 12.40pm S. Donnelly & L. Wylie, G. Dunn & D. Standaloft; 12.50pm G. Gillies & J. Thompson, J. Hogarth & S. Hogarth; 1pm R. Turnbull & R. Jardine; 1.10-1.50pm free.