The waves crashed against the breakwater yards from atmospheric, 13th-century Barnbougle Castle, now a popular venue for weddings and move makers from around the world, sending spray over the fifth green and nearby sixth tee at Dalmeny Estate Golf Club (DEGC).
And white horses were evident in the Firth between South Queensferry and Cramond, whipped up by a chill east wind. However, a wee dram on the first tee, courtesy of Royal Dornoch Golf Club, warmed the competitors in the Captain v Vice-Captain match, the traditional season-opener resurrected after two years in cold storage due to the world-wide pandemic.
The sun broke through the cloud as the 14 players made their way around the tricky, nine-hole course made ready for play by a hard-working team of member volunteers overseen by greenkeeper and club secretary, Wullie Ruffle.
Competition was keen even if this is seen as more a social event, and Drew Allan, handicap 11, standing in for captain Ian Sousa, who opted out on doctors orders, edged vice-captain elect, Ian Bell, handicap seven, 2 and 1 in a tight match.
Chris McPhee (5) and Chris Redmond (5) were 2 and 1 winners over Frank Malone (11) and Dougie Wylie (10) while Brenda Bell (20), wife of the vice-captain elect and the ladies captain, and her partner, Dave Mackie, were 4 and 2 winners over Craig Cuthill (8) and Kevin Ferguson (11).
Wullie Ruffle (10), partnered by Nigel Duncan (16), knows every blade of grass on the course in the shadow if Dalmeny House, aGothic revival mansion, designed by William Wilkins and completed in 1817, the home of the Earl and Countess of Rosebery.
He knows how to get around the 2,251-yard, par-31 course and used that knowledge to the full, nailing some crucial puts to subdue big-hitting, four-handicap Graham Alston and John Sinclair (15) to win 1up.
The club was founded in 1934 and captain Ian Souza welcomed the return of the popular event which produced a fine turnout for the sport and the traditional post-match mince pies, procured by Christine McLeary, treasurer of DEGC, from Bo’ness Co-op.
And the warming dram courtesy of Royal Dornoch was explained by secretary Ruffle who recently gifted an ‘Eisenhower’ pen to Dornoch.
General Dwight D Eisenhower planted a tree on Dalmeny’s 8th hole during a visit to Edinburgh to receive the Freedom of the City in 1946 and Ruffle said that the pen was one of the various mementos crafted from wood from the Eisenhower tree and gifted to clubs near and far.
He added: “It was a thank you to the way I was treated when booking a round at Dornoch.”
One of the holes on the Royal Dornoch course – the 13th – was named Morangie because of the view of the Morangie Farm and distillery across the Dornoch Firth and the golf course and Glenmorangie have close ties.
In fact, Glenmorangie is the official whisky of Royal Dornoch and the par-4, 18th hole on the championship course was renamed Glenmorangie in 2013 in honour of this partnership.
RESULTS: Overall: Captain 1, Vice-Captain 3: Drew Allan bt Ian Bell 2 and 1; Chris McPhee and Chris Redmond beat Frank Malone and Dougie Wylie 2 and 1; Brenda Bell and Dave Mackie beat Craig Cuthill and Kevin Ferguson 4 and 2; Wullie Ruffle and Nigel Duncan beat Graham Alston and John Sinclair 1 up.
PICTURE: Ian Souza, captain (pictured centre holding the bottle of whisky) and the golfers toast Royal Dornoch on the first tee