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In first week 69 NHS workers battling coronavirus take up offer of free year's rainbow membership at the Suffolk Golf Club




Almost 70 NHS staff took up The Suffolk Golf Club’s offer of a free 12-month unrestricted membership – thought to be the first scheme of its kind in England – during the first week.

Members at the Fornham St Genevieve-based club came up with the idea for a ‘rainbow membership’ to give back something that could provide recognition and some much-needed unwind time for NHS workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The first sign-up day was held on Wednesday of last week, with director of golf Steve Hall pleased to get 69 people signed up across the first seven days.

FORNHAM: Suffolk Golf club signing NHS staff up to free memberships.All Saints Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6JQ, UK.Suffolk Golf Club signing NHS staff up to free memberships (rainbow membership) for a year to honour them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic..Steve Hall, head professional Picture by Mark Westley. (34966501)
FORNHAM: Suffolk Golf club signing NHS staff up to free memberships.All Saints Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6JQ, UK.Suffolk Golf Club signing NHS staff up to free memberships (rainbow membership) for a year to honour them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic..Steve Hall, head professional Picture by Mark Westley. (34966501)

“It has been really good so far and we have got another 10 provisionally booked in,” he said.

“All in all I think we should be at around the 100-mark with it.

“We were not really sure what to expect but it has been interesting that we have had a lot that have been golfers and were members elsewhere and now they have decided to get into it again.

FORNHAM: Suffolk Golf club signing NHS staff up to free memberships.All Saints Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6JQ, UK.Suffolk Golf Club signing NHS staff up to free memberships (rainbow membership) for a year to honour them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic..Steve Hall, head professional with Christopher Oldroyd medical registrar with John Li also a medical registar. Picture by Mark Westley. (35395565)
FORNHAM: Suffolk Golf club signing NHS staff up to free memberships.All Saints Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6JQ, UK.Suffolk Golf Club signing NHS staff up to free memberships (rainbow membership) for a year to honour them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic..Steve Hall, head professional with Christopher Oldroyd medical registrar with John Li also a medical registar. Picture by Mark Westley. (35395565)

“We have had a number of people give a commitment that if it does work for them they will continue to use us after the free year is up.”

He said there had been a whole range of NHS workers taking it up, from hospital porters to surgeons.

He added: “A couple have come from Ipswich and one from Peterborough way, so the message has certainly got out.”

Like others, the club were able to reopen with new social distancing safety measures in place from last Wednesday, following a seven-week hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

FORNHAM: Suffolk Golf club signing NHS staff up to free memberships.All Saints Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6JQ, UK.Suffolk Golf Club signing NHS staff up to free memberships (rainbow membership) for a year to honour them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic..Steve Hall, head professional with Christopher Oldroyd medical registrar with John Li also a medical registar. Picture by Mark Westley. (34966421)
FORNHAM: Suffolk Golf club signing NHS staff up to free memberships.All Saints Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6JQ, UK.Suffolk Golf Club signing NHS staff up to free memberships (rainbow membership) for a year to honour them for their work during the coronavirus pandemic..Steve Hall, head professional with Christopher Oldroyd medical registrar with John Li also a medical registar. Picture by Mark Westley. (34966421)

Meanwhile, Hall said competitive matches at the club will be determined by when England Golf give the green light, but is not likely to be until three or four balls can resume, with players currently restricted to two balls to help maintain social distancing.

Some confusion has emanated in the golfing world this week by The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) having circulated information saying competitive play can resume.

"I did wonder when I saw it if other golf bodies may have revised their guidelines but when I compared it to England Golf, the PGA and R&A websites they are all still not changed.

"We will just listen to England Golf with when they say we can re-introduce it.

"The problems for competitive play is it is all about scorecards and handling money as well as two balls being restrictive for it."

* Anyone wishing to book an appointment to discuss a rainbow NHS membership can email Steve and his team at: golf@allsaintshotel.com


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