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Golf columnist Chris Boughton assesses how the sport has been impacted locally by coronavirus




The county golf calendar has understandably been hugely affected by the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

With all our golf courses currently closed until the government advises otherwise, the Suffolk Men’s Golf Union and the Suffolk Ladies’ County Golf Association have both made cancellation announcements and the latest situation is set out below.

Charlie Wilderspin, secretary of the Suffolk Men’s Golf Union, sent out the following to all Suffolk-based club managers, secretaries, Suffolk Golf Union officials, players and affiliated members last week: “Following the latest Government directives regarding the Covid-19 virus the directors of Suffolk Golf Limited (Trading as Suffolk Golf Union) have agreed that special measures are needed regarding our programme of county events.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club - Stenson Shield Champions 2018Picture: Phil Smailes (33225844)
Bury St Edmunds Golf Club - Stenson Shield Champions 2018Picture: Phil Smailes (33225844)

“Clearly our overriding aim is to ensure the health and safety of all participants in golf throughout the county. We have therefore taken the decision to cancel all the following for 2020:

“1. Suffolk Golf Ltd AGM and Presidents Golf competition

2. All County Championships

3. All County Team Match play competitions

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Beaumont Champions 2018 Picture: Nick Bonney (33225846)
Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Beaumont Champions 2018 Picture: Nick Bonney (33225846)

4. All County 1st and 2nd Team matches (Anglian League) the Eastern Counties Foursomes has already been cancelled by organisers.

5. All junior SEG League matches

6. All senior EASL Matches

7. All coaching sessions- County squads, seniors and juniors.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Hambro Champions 2016 - Picture: Phil Smailes (33225850)
Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Hambro Champions 2016 - Picture: Phil Smailes (33225850)

8. All E.G. Team qualifying events (County Team, Seniors and Juniors)”

He added; “The position will be kept under review and in the event that the current situation improves quicker than expected it may be possible to re-schedule some of the above events.”

The Suffolk Ladies’ County Golf Association also issued the following statement on March 16: “Following on from the COBRA meeting today where it was recommended that ‘all non-essential contact and travel is to be stopped’, the SLCGA committee has made the decision to cancel the following:

1. 20th April - Governing Body Meeting

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Hambro Champions 2017 (33225848)
Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Hambro Champions 2017 (33225848)

2. 8-10th May County Championships

3. 30th April – Division 4 meeting

4. 11th May – Division 3 meeting

5. Jubilee Shield as first matches were in March/April

Stowmarket GC 2016 Beaumont Trophy winners (33225853)
Stowmarket GC 2016 Beaumont Trophy winners (33225853)

6. Weston as first matches were in April.

7. Cranworth as first match was in May

8. Haskell as first match was in March

9. All training/matches for first and second team up until end of May.

10. All Junior training/matches up until end of May.”

Competitions due to be played after May, (Stearn, Centenary 4s, Coronation 4s, Jr Matchplay) will be decided on by the end of April/ beginning of May.

The Ladies’ County Match-Week has also been cancelled for 2020.

The decision to cancel all the Suffolk County Men’s team Matchplay competitions will be a big disappointment to our local clubs, especially Bury St Edmunds Golf Club.

In recent years Bury have won the Hambro Cup twice (2016 & 2017) and the Stenson Shield once (2018) and would have been amongst the favourites for the Stenson this year too.

The Bury Club’s Stenson team currently has a very strong squad of low handicap golf members to select from including several handicappers around the scratch mark (The Stenson is played off scratch).Also, Bury Seniors’ were the Beaumont champions in 2018.

The Suffolk Golf Club would have been looking forward to competing in the Stenson and Hambro this year as they now also have several very low handicap golfers.

Stowmarket have performed well in recent years in County team events with wins in both the Beaumont and the Curry competitions.

Our golf clubs in the west of the region used to be the Cinderella’s of county team matchplay knockout competitions but teams from the east, especially Aldeburgh, Ipswich, Woodbridge and Felixstowe no longer rule the roost.


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