Lady captain takes charity dip in new North Berwick 'water feature'

Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew and the club’s lady captain Yvonne Keeling have been making the most of a new “water feature” on North Berwick West Links.

North Berwick Golf Club's Lady Captain Yvonne Keeling took a swim in the flooded area on the ninth hole. Picture: North Berwick Golf Club
North Berwick Golf Club's Lady Captain Yvonne Keeling took a swim in the flooded area on the ninth hole. Picture: North Berwick Golf Club

The ninth hole on the historic East Lothian course has been left partly flooded by the recent spell of snow, ice and rain.

Matthew, who lives in a house overlooking the course, posted a photograph on social media of the family dog sitting on the edge of a bunker above the water level.

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“Rio had a successful swim in the new water hazard today on the 9th hole,” wrote the 2009 Women’s British Open champion of a collection of golf balls beside the dog.

Catriona Matthew's dog Rio with a collection of golf balls from the new 'water feature' on the East Lothian course. Picture: Catriona Matthew

Keeling, meanwhile, saw an opportunity to raise money for one of her chosen charities, Leuchie House, as she took on a “Bonkers Bunker Challenge” by swimming in the flooded area on Sunday.

“The outside temperature was minus 6 degrees. The water was 2 degrees,” she said on a JustGiving page.

“Needless to say, once in, I had no difficulty getting out, unlike my usual bunker problem.

“I hope that the NBGC members will forgive the unusual behaviour of the Lady Captain but difficult times call for desperate measures!”

Keeling is hoping her winter dip can help raise £200 for Leuchie House, which provides respite breaks for people and their families living with long-term conditions.

Standing water is unusual for courses like North Berwick, with general manager Elaine McBride explaining the reason for it.

“We have had 121mm of rain this year, which is around double our average for the golf course,” she said. “This has led to an usually high water table.

“The ninth fairway is on the edge of Yellowcraig, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) which is effectively a flood plain supporting an amazing array of biodiverse species.

“At North Berwick, we are a GEO-certified facility and take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously.

“Therefore, we have engaged with the relevant authorities with a view to draining the part of the fairway where our lady captain was pictured.

“Should the project be given the go ahead, not only will it improve the area of the West Links where standing water is most problematic, it would further enhance the diversity of the SSSI by extending the wetlands to the west.”

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