Sunday saw the changing of the guard at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club with the annual drive-in for the new club captains. The Men’s Captain for the next 12 months will be Ray Coleman; Ladies’ – Hannah Clark; Seniors’ - Richard Rawlings and Juniors’ – Jack Lancaster.
Coleman, in his fancy footwear, drove the ball arrow straight 110 yards, a guess well made by Bill Newall.
The Ladies’ Captain’s drive went 132 yards, with Clare Sykes guessing the correct distance.
The money raised from guessing the yardage goes towards this year’s captains’ charity, My Wish, supporting Every Heart Matters for West Suffolk Hospital.
After the drive-in, the club held a shotgun start Texas Scramble competition with 130 members taking part.
The winning team, with a nett score of 53.6, was Shaun Talbot, Jonathan Last, Simon Robson, Ollie Flight and Steve Chadwick.
The club’s general manager, Mike Verhelst, said: “We were blessed with the weather once again and the morning started early with our annual breakfast attended by over 100 members, before the captains drove off at 8.30am. A special mention to this year’s Ladies’ Club Champion, Marriette Robberste, who scored a hole in one at the 15th. A great day was had by all and we wish the new captains a very successful year.”
Meanwhile, Junior section member Danny Howes has had a remarkable year at the club. He joined in December 2016 and started on a handicap of 36, but in less than a year this has reduced this to 11.2.
Junior organiser, Molly Smith, said: “This is an outstanding achievement and he has also been chosen to play for the Suffolk County Under-16s team.”
At the Bury club’s recent annual trophy presentation evening he received an impressive collection of cups and trophies for 2017: Snazell Cup, Jubilee Plate, Club Challenge Trophy, Pro Shop Challenge Trophy and Junior Golfer of the Year. Well done Danny.
Tony Brooks and Dave Fitchett got off to a great start in the Winter League when they finished three points clear of the field in the first round on Sunday. There are six rounds and the best four scores count.
Brooks and Fitchett came in with 38pts in the first foursomes round. Peter Croker and John Ward came second with 35, followed by Steve Burridge and Michael Smith (34) and Bryan Muggeridge and Jon Olpin, Rob Taylor and Dan Traher and Norrie Dickson and Bryan Youngs, all with 33. The second round, on November 26, will be a four-ball better-ball event.
Thetford Seniors continued their run in the Hodds Salver with a third-round win over Royal Cromer by 14 holes last week. All four Thetford pairs won to overcome the two-hole deficit which is awarded to the visiting team.
Trevor Wignall and Phil Halford (3 up), Derek Barton and Gary Goodchild (2 up), Bob Pearson and Nolan Guthrie (7 up) and Martin Eeles and Gary Woodhouse (4 up) contributed to the Thetford success.
The Suffolk GC
Colin Holder was the star performer in last week’s well attended midweek Stableford competition at The Suffolk GC. In tricky late autumn conditions, the left-hander scored an impressive 40 points off his 23-handicap to take top spot and receive a two-shot cut.
The ever-consistent Ivan Snelling was runner-up with 36pts and after only four rounds has a big lead in the midweek Order of Merit table. His 33-point total is 13 ahead of second placed Jim Chapman. Mark Rothon came third on the day with 34pts.
There was also a good turnout for the Senior section’s Monday competition. Fourteen handicapper Kevin Dutton returned 36 Stableford points to lead the way followed by Stephen Brooks and Stephen Christopher, both scoring 34.
A scheme to encourage new women golfers to play more often is coming to Suffolk next year after a trial in three counties this season (Hertfordshire, Durham & Cheshire).
These Academy away days, developed and supported by Golf England, attracted over 300 players and will be extended to five new counties next year, including Suffolk.
Outings are played on par three and short courses and the players use a novel scoring system which focuses on rules and etiquette rather than the number of strokes taken.
The success of the scheme is highlighted by the results of a survey of women who took part this summer, which indicated that almost 60 per cent have taken out some form of golf club membership. Research shows there is a huge appetite for playing the sport.
Lauren Spray, England Golf’s women & girls participation manager, said: “The Academy away days have proved a great way for women to make friends, to build their confidence and to have fun whilst they improve their skills playing golf.
“The feedback from the players has been so positive and I’m looking forward to seeing even greater success as it grows into the new counties”.