The Ryder Cup landed in a whirlwind of excitement in near perfect conditions at Skaw on Tuesday as over 100 golfers and 26 school bairns turned out to greet the celebrated trophy.
The cup, hallowed as the pre-eminent team competition in the world, was at Britain’s most northerly golf course as part of a pre-competition tour that saw it taken to the most far-flung golf courses in the land to help promote the old game.
With the first open in Scotland since 1973 only two weeks away, to be played at Gleneagles, there was enthusiasm that the actual Ryder Cup was on hand for display and for umpteen photos.
The sense of occasion was heightened when the cup, minded by Ryder Cup spokesman James Matheson, was flown in by a private helicopter bearing the cup’s livery.
Whalsay Golf Club was established formally in 1976 with 12 members. Prior to that the original three-hole course had been gradually expanded and the layout has changed as time went on.
The course has the distinction of being the most northerly and easterly in the UK and quite possibly the most exposed. But on Tuesday the course basked in hazy sunshine and light winds that had people moving about comfortably in their T-shirts.
The club members had certainly pushed the boat out with the clubhouse decked in stars and stripes and multi-starred EU flag bunting and the tables inside groaning with an array of baking and fancies that could have fed double the healthy number who turned up.
The Skaw visit was part of the official trophy tour, delivered by VisitScotland and Ryder Cup Europe. It had already been to St Medan Golf Club in Dumfries and Galloway, Machrihanish Dunes in Argyll and the Isle of Harris Golf Club. And the breakneck tour was to continue – after leaving Whalsay the aircraft was heading to Braemar Golf Club, the highest in the UK, before completing its journey to Gleneagles Hotel tomorrow.
• See full story and more photos in The Shetland Times on Friday.