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Chris Boughton's Golf Column: Thetford greenkeeper set for Open

Thetford Golf Club’s senior greenkeeper, David Bell, has been selected as a member of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) volunteer support team that will help maintain playing conditions at this year’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s in July.

Bell was previously selected for the 2018 & 2019 BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth. A spokesperson from BIGGA said: “BIGGA members who join the support team are given unprecedented access to golf’s greatest championship, supporting every match including bunker-racking duties.”

The bunkers at Royal St George are among the most famous in golf, with the giant ‘Himalaya’ on the 4th hole proving an intimidating test, not just for the golfers who land in the hazard, but also for the members of the support team who will tidy up the sand afterwards.

Keith Day (right) with Brian Wiltorn at the Suffolk Golf ClubPicture:Chris Boughton (31221753)
Keith Day (right) with Brian Wiltorn at the Suffolk Golf ClubPicture:Chris Boughton (31221753)

Thetford General Manager, Malcolm Grubb, said: “Well done David for being selected and all the best, a fantastic opportunity.”

Matt Wabe’s nett 72 was good enough to win Division One of the March Medal at Thetford Golf Club. The five-handicapper may have thought he was out of contention when he had a triple-bogey seven at the second, but his round caught fire with three birdies in a row from the 13th as he played the last nine holes in one-under-par.

That was just enough to beat new member Chris Robson by one stroke. Robson, who plays off plus one, had three birdies of his own offset by three bogeys for a gross score of 72. He beat five-handicap Mark Henfield on countback.

The difficult conditions on Sunday were reflected in the Division Two scores where Derek Smith won with a nett 74, two over par. Derek plays off 18 and beat Nolan Guthrie (18) on countback.

Anita Coteman (19hcp) won Division One of the Ladies’ February Stableford with 32pts, beating Ladies’ Captain Sue Pitcher (11hcp) on countback. Third place went to Rosemary Bloom (19hcp).

Stowmarket Golf Club

Stowmarket Golf Club has been chosen as one of the hosts for the Girls Golf Rocks 2020 program which is organised, supported and promoted by the Golf Foundation. This is a nationwide program that aims to give young girls, predominantly 7-14 years, the opportunity to try out golf and, eventually, develop a love for the game. The emphasis is on learning how to play but also having fun, making new friends and healthy exercise.

The program at Stowmarket Golf Club is free to join, all equipment is provided and will start with a one hour taster session followed by two, six- week coaching sessions for beginners which will run between May and October.

Stowmarket’s Girls Golf Rocks ambassadors, Rebekah Meekings and Ella Markham will be on hand to meet, help and encourage the new players. So far, more than 5,000 girls have been introduced though the Girls Golf Rocks program and all schools local to Stowmarket will receive full details.

Since 2015, Girls Golf Rocks has helped more than 5,000 beginner girl golfers in England learn that golf can be a fun, sociable, cool and athletic sport. With PGA professional coaching support at each club and the Foundation training existing girl players as ambassadors, the programme will be rolled out by England Golf and the Golf Foundation to 200 clubs across 35 counties in 2020.

Congratulations to Rebekah Meekings from Stowmarket Golf Club who has been selected for the Suffolk Girls 2nd team. Rebekah only started playing a short time ago but has recently achieved her first golf handicap. Last year she also represented Stowmarket as a member of the Golf Sixes squad and will be Junior Vice Captain this year.

Rebekah has also been chosen to be Stowmarket Golf Club’s Ambassador for the Girls Golf Rocks campaign, alongside Ella Markham.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club

It was the final round of the Winter Goblets at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club last Sunday and despite the wind and rain 60 hardy golfers took to the fairways. Sam Bridges and Russell Green made an impressive late run for the title with a winning 40-point Foursomes return but finished up as runners-up in the four-match series.

The champions are Stephen Bradford and Robbie Burt who only managed 33 points on the day but, with the best three scores from the four rounds deciding the overall winning round, they had done enough in their previous three rounds (37, 40 & 39 points) to finish with 116 points just two ahead of Bridges & Green.

Jack Deal & Graham Sykes were runners-up in the last match with 37 points beating three pairs on countback (Peter Wright & Stephen Behan, Paul Glasswell & Christopher Whyatt and Trevor Titcombe & Ben Coleman).

The Suffolk Golf Club

Some sad news to finish on. Keith Day, who was a hugely popular member at the Suffolk Golf Club, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep last week.

He was 71 and had spent the winter months in training to take part in this year’s London Marathon to raise money for Diabetes research and care (JDRF).

His grandson, Preston, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of two. Keith had taken part in several marathons in the past including 10 London Marathons.

Director of Golf at the Suffolk, Steve Hall, said: “Keith was great company, on and off the golf course, lived life to the full and always had a smile on his face. He’ll be greatly missed by us all.”

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