Annual match agaist the Academicals (Wednesday 22 June 2016)
By tradition, the last game of the season is the fixture against the Academicals, normally played at Glasgow Golf Club. As the above photograph shows, the boys were again in sparkling form and won the Keith Deighton Quaich by 4 games to 2. They are (l to r) Andrew Kitson, Kerr Webster, Angus Frood, William Prentice (capt), Calum Stevens and Greg McCaffer.
Golf Report 2016
With the departure of Mr Adam Williams last June, golf at The Academy lost undoubtedly its most enthusiastic, talented and hugely-committed Master in Charge of Golf in many years. In his short time at The Academy, he raised the profile of golf to a new level.
This year we entered not just one but two teams in the Independent Schools Golf Association Matchplay Tournament, the first time we have ever done so. The 'A' Team of William Prentice, Matthew Robertson and Kerr Webster got the competition off to a great start in early October by beating High School of Glasgow on home soil by 2 games to 1. While we had a large group of talented golfers itching to play, we then suffered a very frustrating period during the late autumn monsoon season when many local golf courses were closed because of flooding. Because we were judged to have run out of time, we lost the ‘B’ team fixture to St Aloysius' on the toss of a coin - and the St Aloysius' boys went on to play our ‘A’ team at Glasgow Gailes on 10 February when Angus Frood joined Matthew and Kerr and battled bravely to win 2-1 against excellent opposition. It took a team from Merchiston Golf Academy to put us out of the competition in the semi-final. Playing at Longniddry Golf Club on 25 February our boys matched them from tee to green, but we couldn’t quite match the Merchie boys’ putting and we lost 3-0.
Two years ago we got to the national final of the HMC Tournament - so hopes were high that we might do well this year. However, we came up against Dollar Academy on a dreich day at the end of October at Dollar Golf Club - a tight wee course carved out of a hillside in Dollar Glen. Home advantage won the day and Dollar took the tie 2-1.
Of games played this year probably the highlight was our 5-1 win against the boys of Merchiston Golf Academy at Pollok on 16 June. Our boys have been working hard on their games this season and their assured performance against tough opposition spoke volumes. Congratulations to William Prentice, Angus Frood, Matthew Robertson, Greg McCaffer, Kerr Webster and Calum Stevens.
Mr Duncan has continued to provide golf-improvement sessions at Great Western Golf after school on Fridays and has had a regular group of 10 or 15 who want to work on their game.
William Prentice has been an excellent Captain of Golf this year, both in terms of his sportsmanship on the course and his leadership of the team generally. We wish him every success as he goes off to study Financial Economics at - where else? - St Andrews.
St Leonards National Junior Scottish Championships (Friday 29 April 2016)
The St Leonards National Junior Golf Championships played on Friday April 29 2016 were more like a test of endurance than a round of golf! All four Glasgow Academy boys - Cameron Hardiman (P5.4), John Collins (P5.2), Fraser Thomson (P5.1) & Murray Thomson (DP2) - deserved a medal (as well as a couple of lines in the Chronicle!) for just turning out on such a day! On the eve of the tournament the snow was lying 2 inches thick just outside St Andrews! After a wild and stormy night the picture was no different on Friday morning but fortunately in St Andrews itself there was no snow. However, the winds were arctic and delivered squally showers and sleet and only those children (and parents) who had winter golf mitts, Gortex waterproofs and a sturdy golf umbrella were really prepared for the conditions! That said, all the boys played really well and coped admirably with the adverse weather. Despite the lack of silverware, it was, as always, the taking part that counted and all four boys had a marvellous day! So much so that they are all as keen as mustard to get out and play as much as possible and eager to compete in the Loretto tournament in September. With the British Open so close to us down in Troon this year it proves to be a great summer of golf!
Special congratulations to Murray Thomson who came third in the Under 9s Boys competition. Not bad for someone aged 6 playing in his first competition!
St Leonards National Junior Scottish Championships (Friday 24 April 2015)
In July 2015, the 144th Open will return to St Andrews, and with many of the stands already in place and a notable 'Open' buzz all-around, the U9, U11 and U13s made the journey to perform in the St Leonards National Junior Scottish Championships. Most excitingly, this was the first ever tournament for several of the team, as well as being the first time TGA had entered an U9 side. 181 players took to the Balgove and Eden courses and with brilliant sunshine adorning the links, scores were bound to be low.
With up to 50 people watching the 1st tee shot at the Balgove course the pressure was on, but the TGA team rose to the challenge with crisp iron shots into the fast-running green.
The format for the U9, U11 and U13 without handicaps was to see how many holes you could play in 50, 45 and 40 shots respectively. With that in mind, our debutant P4 U9s were outstanding, with each one finishing in the top 10.
Huge congratulations go to Cameron Hardiman (4th), Fraser Thomson (6th), John Collins (9th), but also to Alex Williams, who by finishing on the 13th green after 50 shots was crowned the U9 boys' winner.
The pick of the girls was Katie Ritchie who just was just a few shots off winning the U13 girls' title. One final notable performance in this section came from Charlie McCready, who won the U13 non-handicap tournament.
In the U13 tournament on the Strathtyrum, the S1 team also excelled. Scoring is always terrifyingly low in these events, but Harry MacFarlane's gross 80/nett 61 saw him finish 8th in the scratch event, just ahead of Jamie Morrison who shot an 83/nett 63. Both boys were also top 6 finishers in the handicap equivalent in a field of well over 70 golfers. Alexander Hardiman also showed great mental strength to shoot a nett 70 after a very tricky start.
In short, it had been a fabulous day in magnificent surroundings, and our golfers had played an integral part at the business-end of the tournament and been a credit to the school.
Add in Mr Boyle's win against Mr Smith at the Himalayas putting green on the final hole and all were ready to take the long journey back home feeling rather sunned and happy.
With golfing numbers at TGA continuing to grow and the standard becoming ever-better, the future looks bright indeed for the next generation!
The ISGA Scottish Open (Monday 29 September 2014)
The ISGA Scottish Open saw 25 teams and some of the finest junior golfers from Scotland, England and Wales muster at Kings Acre Golf Club, a challenging tree-lined course on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
With the sun beating down on our six leading Academy golfers, tee shots were drilled down the first hole; a good start all-round. The greatest challenge lay in the short game department though, with severely sloping greens putting a premium on accurate approach irons. After four challenging hours the scores were in, with Angus Frood shooting a superb gross 71 off a 5 handicap, ably supported by William Prentice whose gross 76 meant that TGA finished a hugely impressive fouth place in both the scratch and handicap events, just a few shots behind the golfing academies of Loretto and Merchiston.
Angus also won the Under 15 scratch championship - his best result to-date in his Academy golfing career.
It had been an excellent day, with Alex Mennie, Sharan Maiya, Matthew Stevens and Matthew Munro also playing some good golf, albeit with a few learning experiences along the way!
Loretto Championships (Thursday 18 September 2014)
At 6.45 am, thirteen Academy golfers mustered on the Great Western Road before traveling to the Loretto Championships at Craigielaw Golf Club, a challenging links with commanding views of the Firth of Forth.
Players were from S1-S3 and, as they stood on the first tee with cavernous bunkers and knee-high rough seemingly everywhere, nerves were high. However The Academy players are made of stern stuff, and many tee shots pierced the centre of the fairway!
With U15 and U13 categories and an online scoring system that sent results through to the clubhouse as they happened, all our players had to learn the art of seaside golf quickly.
This they did and notable performances were seen from Ross Christie, Katie Prentice, Alexander Hardiman and Harry Macfarlane, but these were eclipsed by Robert McNaught (pictured right), who scored a remarkable 53 Stableford points (!) and won the U15 handicap event by no fewer than 6 shots. One feels the handicapping system may not be kind...
It was the first time the side had competed in this prestigious event and - with the bar set high by the eventual winners, Loretto - the team know that the practice ground awaits!
As always, my thanks go to Mrs Gilmour for her time and millionaire shortbreads....
HMC Foursomes - semi-final report (Wednesday 26 March 2014)
With a light breeze tugging at the shirt sleeves and brilliant sunshine streaming across the golden dunes of the Wirral peninsula, The Academy golf team took to the links of Hoylake, the venue of this year's British Open. Their semi-final opponents in the HMC foursomes (Northern Division) were Birkenhead, and one could sense the tension as the two sides teed up in front of the historic clubhouse, the scene of Tiger Woods' victory in 2006.
The Academy side raced out of the traps over the front 9 holes into a commanding lead, with impressive golf from William Prentice and Alex Mennie in particular, finding themselves 6 up. Our final pair of Sharan Maiya and Lyle Robertson were also showing determined golf and kept inching ahead whilst avoiding the myriad of bunkers that lay in wait. Out in front, our top pair of Angus Frood and Adam Gillespie had their hands full with a strong opposition, but kept making fine pars to stay in the game.
Like the tide in the estuary which lay next to the course, foursomes golf can turn quickly and Birkenhead fought back bravely. Putts were holed and The Academy found themselves under real pressure, even with the 5&4 win from Maiya and Robertson in Match 3. Six up had become 2 up and Frood and Gillespie found themselves 1 down with two holes to go. That said, a fine 15 minutes saw William Prentice hole two gritty 5 footers on 16 and 17 to close out their game. Meanwhile, having birdied 17 to get back to all square, Angus Frood wedged into three feet at 18 and Adam Gillespie converted the testing putt to win at the last. A 3-0 victory had been achieved, but it had been (and felt) far closer than that.
The journey back passed quickly, and the team now prepare for the Northern final against Worksop College for a place in the Nationals at The Luffenham Heath Golf Club.
1. Angus Frood and Adam Gillespie Won 2 up
2. William Prentice and Alex Mennie Won 2&1
3. Lyle Robertson & Sharan Maiya Won 5&4
HMC Foursomes (20 November 2013)
On a blustery late-autumn day, the golf team journeyed to Carlisle where St Bees lay in wait in the regional 1/4 finals of the prestigious HMC foursomes tournament.
Having never been involved in the event before, nerves were high, but a towering tee-shot, rifled down the first hole by the captain, Adam Gillespie, set the tone as he and the ever-excellent Angus Frood went into an early lead on the front nine. Alexandra Mennie and William Prentice were pair two and played outstanding golf from the outset, with Alexandra holing 40ft putts and threading rescue woods close to flags. William was his typical consistent self too - and a 7&6 victory was assured early on. Our final pair of Lyle Robertson and Sharan Maiya was involved in a tussle throughout and even with prodigious hitting from Lyle and intelligent iron play from Sharan, they fell at the final hole to lose 1 down.
With all the pressure on match one, Angus and Adam found themselves 2 up with 7 to go but a spirited fightback from St Bees meant they were all-square standing on the 14th tee with the team’s progression in the competition in their hands. Both coped well under pressure though, and Adam holed a couple of superb 5-footers to edge ahead once more. With Angus continuing to find fairways and greens, the two eventually won through on the 17th the green to take The Academy through.
The match was played in an excellent spirit by both sides and highlighted the delights of foursomes golf. The winners of Shrewsbury or Birkenhead will be the semi-final opposition.
The Glasgow Academy team in front of Hoylake's historic clubhouse
A crucial putt. Will it drop?