AN American who was holidaying in Findhorn scored a hole in one when he picked up a copy of the Gazette during his stay, which landed him a trophy prize.
Bruce Anderson has visited Moray on a handful of occasions, continuing a tradition to stay in Findhorn, which was started by his wife Wendy’s family many years ago.
“We love it here, and we always try and pick up a copy of the paper while we are visiting to see what’s on,” he said. “This time I saw there was a golf competition, so I entered.”
In fact, Bruce, from South Carolina, is a bit of a golf fan, whose home backs onto the 18th hole of his local course, and he had actually timed his visit this year to coincide with the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.
“We were here three years ago and enjoyed watching Phil Nicholson as part of the fan crowd,” he said. “But I’ve had open heart surgery so we have missed coming over for the past couple of years, but when we decided that we were coming back this year I wanted to time it to coincide with the golf and maybe see him take part.”However, little did he know that not only would he be getting to go to the Scottish Open for free, but that he would have passes which also allowed him access into the clubhouse and all area of the course for both the Saturday and Sunday of the play for himself and his wife. Plus, the prize also allowed him and three friends to play a round on the famous course, after he scooped first prize in the Gazette competition that he had entered by chance.
Despite his good fortune Bruce had a couple of obstacles to overcome; firstly, he had decided at the last minute against bringing his golf shoes with him to Scotland, so when he received a phone call from John Currie from Scottish Provincial Press telling him that he had won the tickets to the event, he realised that he was unprepared so went straight out and bought a new pair.
“The real bonus of the prize even though I don’t play that much was the round of golf on the Monday after the event for four,” he said, “but obviously we didn’t have any clubs either, but John was great and very helpful and he arranged it so that we could borrow the clubs at Castle Stuart.”He added: “I was very grateful. He was very kind.”Mr Currie, who is marketing development manager with the Gazette’s parent company, said that he when he heard that the holidaymaker was going to have to buy new shoes and would have had to hire clubs, he wanted to help, and spoke to the team at Castle Stuart to see if they could assist the holidaymaker.
“They were great and agreed to help and loaned Bruce and his fellow golfer sets of clubs so they could play in a foursome on the course,” he said.He added: “It’s extra-ordinary to think that someone on holiday could just pick up the paper by chance and ends up winning a competition like that. I was delighted for Bruce, who seemed like a really nice chap and a golf fan.”Bruce told the Gazette that he and Wendy had thoroughly enjoyed their three days at Castle Stuart adding that winning the competition had made their holiday.
They got an extra thrill when they went down on the Monday for their 11.30 am tee slot for their round of golf for four to see that the famous course was still laid out for the Scottish Open.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to play on a championship course,” said Bruce, who offered the other two places to friends Michael and Sheila Thompson of Kinloss, who were delighted to take up this offer and join them for a round of golf.
The happy golfers were also full of praise for the staff at Castle Stuart who they described as friendly, helpful and polite, from the club house,and the Pro’s shop to the course manager and green staff, they said that they received five star service.
“Nothing was too much trouble for the Castle Stuart staff,” said friend, Michael Thompson, who said that the course itself was in immaculate condition even after the four days of the Scottish Open.
“The fairways and greens were superb and the location and scenery, which can only be seen from the course, is outstanding,” he said, explaining that after playing nine holes, on what was rather a cool July day, the golfers were treated to complimentary hot Scotch pies to sustain them for the back nine.
They rounded off the day with a delightful afternoon tea in the club house.
“It was the best competition they could have won as they are great golf fans and they will always remember their 2016 holiday to Moray,” said Mr Thompson, who said that they all wanted to give a big thank you to the Forres Gazette for holding the competition and to Mr Currie and the Castle Stuart staff for helping them with the logistics.