GOLF club management and their professional staff will have a new optimism for the future after watching the thrilling fightback by Europe’s Ryder Cup team on Sunday.
The absorbing action at Chicago’s Medinah Country Club, which saw the powerful United States beaten again, will surely encourage a new enthusiasm for club golf.
It will boost the drive by the England Golf Partnership (EGP) and its county network, which this year has already helped bring an estimated 69,000 more golfers playing at least once a week.
Many are, no doubt, green fee players, but a number of clubs are still looking for more members to keep the books balanced.
That search should certainly be made easier following the exploits of our European stars.
While the Ryder Cup drama was unfolding, Bury St Edmunds professional Mark Jillings was delighted with the enthusiasm of a huge field that teed off in the club’s celebration of his 30 years in the shop.
Four of his former assistants, Gary Kitley (Thetford), Stuart Scott (Ramsey), Alasdair Currie (Brampton) and Matt Baker (no longer in pro golf) turned out to support their former boss.
They joined in the fourballs (best three scores to count) before a buffet and presentation.
The winners were the team of Elaine, Nick and Amy Bonney with Malcolm Wyer, who scored 133 points.
David Matter made sure he secured the nearest the pin prize at the 15th, when he holed out in one.
Jillings previously worked at Rookery Park, Lowestoft and Diss before joining Bury,
Suffolk professionals did not feature too strongly in the PGA East Anglian Championship, held at Lords Golf & Country Club at Rayleigh.
Best was Chris Smith of Fynn Valley, who returned 143 – five shots behind winner James Scade (Regiment Way) with two 69s.
Other scores included Neil Mitchell (Bury Driving Range) 149, Ben Kerr (West Suffolk Golf Centre) 151, Ollie Rush (Haverhill) 151, Paul Wilby (Haverhill) 157.
The Suffolk men’s team emerged with considerable credit from their first appearance in the England County finals held at Beau Desert near Cannock.
Against formidable opposition, they beat Worcestershire 6-3 in the final of their three encounters to earn third place with two points.
Earlier, they lost 6-3 to powerful Lancashire and 6.5-2.5 to eventual champions Wiltshire, who claimed the title on games won after finishing level with Lancs on five points apiece.
Sharon Caws will have been delighted to have won Thetford women’s RNLI Shield, with a substantial 44 points and to have trimmed her handicap to 24.
Leading classified scores
BURY ST EDMUNDS
Men’s Midweek Stableford Division One: G Lesser 39pts, J Last 38, A Orton 35, S McClellan 35.
Division Two: K Harris 42, T Poole 39, C Waters 38, P Westcott 37, D Osborne 37.
Millennium Shield: N Bonney 82(13)69, (lowest gross), F Mayhew 86(15)71, J Staines 87(16)71, G Barrett 89(18)71.
Women’s Past Captains Cup: L Langley 38, P Barnes 35, P Brega 32, M Pettitt 32, W Jones 32.
Mark Jillings Testimonial: Fourball (best 3 scores from 4): N, M & A Bonney, M Wyer 133pts, J Tattersall, P Markey, G Ward & R Coleman 123, Mandy Smith, C Davies, Mark Smith & M Verhelst 122.
Nearest pin 9th: Molly Smith, 15th: D Matter (hole in one).
Women’s Stennett Cup: S Mason 85(12)73, C Long 88(13)75, L Knight 91(15)76, P Hawes 90(13)77.
Atkinson Bowl: L Ireson 34 pts ocb from J Elliott 34 ocb from J Long 34, L Quayle 29.
Men’s September Sunday Stableford: A Halil 40pts, I Hughes 35, J Fitzgerald 35, D Halil 35.
Men’s Hanworth Trophy: D Benton 99(26)73 ocb from C Foulds 94(21)73, D Page 93(20)73, E Leeder 106(28)78. Seniors’ Stableford: G Pitcher 39pts, D Page 37, T Glynn 36, G Goodchild 36.
Women’s RNLI Shield: S Caws 44pts, J Arthur 38, K Malvern 38, E Hodgson 37.
President’s Weekend Junior Stableford: O Brett 34pts ocb from R Harvey 34 J Hurren 33.
Women’s Stableford/Woodward Plate Division One: S Davey 37, L Gilham 34, J Bell 31.
Division Two: M Aung 32, H Plummer 31, A Smith 31.
Division Three: P Willshere 38, S Jackson 34, A Suggett 34.
Pam Wilshere won the Woodward Plate with 38.
CAPTAIN Perry Garrod and Ladies’ Captain Fran McGrath, from The Suffolk Golf Club, presented cheques for £1,120 to EACH, Multiple Sclerosis and the Antony Nolan Trust, which was raised by the members from various events held through the year.