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Chris Boughton's Golf Column: Thetford member Sutton is ‘best leftie’

By Sport Bury

Thetford member David Sutton won the first Left-Handers’ Championship at his home club on Sunday.

Playing off a handicap of 13, Sutton came in with 32 points which proved to be enough as conditions were tough on the par-6, 851-yard course from the White tees.

He finished one point ahead of Thetford members, Dean Scott (5hcp) and Nolan Guthrie (18hcp) – who runs Mr G’s bowling centre in Brandon – who were the instigators and sponsor of the tournament.

The visitors’ prizes went to Dave Hornsby from Fynn Valley (12hcp) with 29pts, and Dave Simpkins (16hcp) from Lakeside Lodge with 27. It is hoped the competition will become an annual event.

David Sutton - winner of Mr G's Left-handers' Championship at Thetford - photo Malcolm Grubb (5147797)
David Sutton - winner of Mr G's Left-handers' Championship at Thetford - photo Malcolm Grubb (5147797)

Thetford’s October Stableford attracted a bumper 71 players and despite the course playing to its full length there were two super scores to win the two divisions.

Seven-handicapper Robbie O’Brien was in sparkling form with three birdies against four bogeys after 17 holes. Even with a double-bogey six at the last he came in with 40pts to win Division One by five points.

Matt Wabe (6hcp) was second with 35pts with Doug Stephen (10hcp) third ocb.

The Rules of Golf

The USGA and the R&A have just unveiled the most radical changes to the rules of golf for 30 years, and these are to be implemented on January 1.

Golf’s new rules were finalised earlier this month after an extensive review that included feedback from the global golf community.

The intention of the two governing bodies of golf, with these rule changes, is to modernise and simplify the game and particularly to improve the speed of play.

The most controversial omission is that no changes have been included to address the issue of receiving relief for your golf ball from a divot hole.

The R&A web site states: “In its simplest form, golf is about playing the ball from tee to green by hitting it with a golf club, and not otherwise touching the ball. A fundamental challenge of the sport is to deal with whatever position your ball comes to rest in – whether good or bad. While there are some necessary exceptions (such as obstructions and other abnormal course conditions), the essential nature of golf means these must remain exceptions rather than the norm. Therefore, the new Rules do not provide relief without penalty from situations that some golfers complain about, such as when their ball comes to rest in a divot hole on a fairway or in footprints in a poorly raked bunker. Also allowing free relief, in such circumstances, would make the rules harder to apply (for example, what is the difference between an irregularity of surface and an old divot hole?) and could slow down play when there are difficult questions about what is or isn’t a divot hole.”

On the positive side the following rule changes have generally been welcomed by golfers and clubs: Ball search time reduced from 5 to 3 minutes; If a ball moves during search, it can be replaced with no penalty; Embedded ball – free relief anywhere; Dropping ball from knee height rather than shoulder; If a ball hits a player or equipment there is no penalty; A double hit will count as one stroke; Touching sand in a bunker incidentally is permitted but not testing the condition of the sand; Loose impediments can be removed from anywhere; Option added to allow ball to be dropped directly out of a bunker for a two shot penalty; Water hazards to be treated as penalty areas and touching ground in water/penalty areas is acceptable; If a ball moves on the green after being marked it can be replaced without penalty; All damage (including stud marks) can be repaired on a putting green; Putting alignment changes – positioning of club to assist alignment not permitted and neither can a caddy assist with alignment; Ball hitting the flag stick when played from the putting surface allowed; A ball wedged against the side of a hole and flagstick is deemed to be holed; Free drop from all animal holes, not just burrowing animals (Insects and worms not included).

Detailed information is available on the R&A web site and most golf clubs have information sheets or booklets available free of charge.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club

Bury St Edmunds GC have appointed of a new course manager. Tom Smart will join the club on January 1, at the same time as the new golf rules come into force.

The Suffolk Golf Club

James Edgar’s golf lessons with pro Steve Hall have paid off with an impressive performance in last week’s Midweek Stableford competition.

A return of 40 points gave him top spot and a win by 4 shots over Dave King with Gordon Markham third on countback.

The first round of the Winter League was held on a windy morning, but the leading scores were still reasonably good, top place going to Paul Delaney and Pete Cocksedge.

In second place, also with 40pts, were the 2016 champions John Mealy and Perry Garrod. Simon Hodson and Paul Dufosee came third with 38.

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