The new clubhouse at The Suffolk GC is almost complete with the main area open for members and guests and the golf reception fully operational. By the end of this month the bar and kitchen will also be open.
Built on the old putting green — by the 1st tee box — the views from the clubhouse across the Lark Valley are stunning.
A wider view across the course can be enjoyed from the accessible rooftop.
The clubhouse is connected to the refurbished changing rooms via a covered walkway.
Director of golf, Steve Hall, said: “After several years of neglect and decline, The Suffolk Golf Club is on the up with major investment over the past 18 months in the course as well as the new clubhouse, changing rooms and a new greenkeepers’ building.”
In the past couple of years Bury Golf Club have also invested in improving facilities including new showers, an expanded and upgraded members’ lounge and a sustained programme of course improvements including new bunkers.
There has also been investment in juniors, with both The Suffolk and Bury clubs involved in the Golf Foundation GolfSixes pilot scheme showing signs of a resurgence of golf among juniors locally.
Flempton captain Andrew Long told me, at their Charity Day in July, that when he started as club captain they had just two junior members and now they had 39.
Flempton’s 17-year-old Alfie Halil winning the Suffolk Championship this year and Bury’s Max Adams becoming Under-18 European Junior champion can only have helped boost interest.
The managers at Stowmarket (Trevor Golton) and Thetford (Malcolm Grub) have also said the average age of members has significantly reduced at their clubs in the past year.
There are junior development programs in place at all the local golf clubs, including involvement with local schools and of course Culford has its own Golf Academy, which all bodes well for the future in the West Suffolk area.
Suffolk Winter Alliance
Bury GC hosted the second round of the Suffolk Winter Alliance meetings last week.
The winning team were Ian Smith, Richard Bland, Danny Goddard and John Sandford (all Stoke-by-Nayland) while Sam Forgan (Stowmarket) won the Pro prize with a three under par 69.
Newton Green host the next meeting on Sunday, October 22, followed by Stowmarket on Sunday, November 5.
Sunshine and a stiff breeze greeted the 72 members playing in the Senior’s October Stableford.
The best score came from Ian Wilkinson with 40 points. followed by Andy Lillistone with 39. John Babraff and Roy Hunter were third and fourth with 37 points each.
The Seniors’ competition secretary Barry Dove said the course was in great condition.
The weather was kind and the course in good condition for the latest Men’s Medal, and consequently the scoring was low.
Six golfers returned nett scores below 70 with one-handicapper Max Adams leading the way with a superb 66.
Rupert McCullum (7hcp), Jeremy Charles (20) and Jon Herd (16) all scored 67 and 6-handicapper Colin Campbell carded 68. Two-handicapper Ralph Evans (2) came 6th with 69.
The Suffolk GC
John Dale returned to form to win the latest midweek Stableford qualifier with 36 points, pushing Ivan Snelling into second place on countback.
With one competition remaining in the fourth quarter midweek Order of Merit table, Snelling has amassed 63 points and cannot be caught.
Runner-up is wide open with Mick Davey and Peter Plumb both on 46pts and club captain Alf Jackson on 43.
There is also one match remaining in the weekend Order of Merit. Chris Tate leads with 21pts followed by Daniel Kay on 20.
There was a remarkably close finish to the annual Challenge of the Sexes for the Millennium Claret Jug at Thetford GC, with seven pairs deciding the winners of the trophy.
The men built up a big lead before word came in that the final ladies’ pair, Shelly Pleasance and Jenny Rowe, were compiling a great score.
They signed for a staggering 47 points but the ladies were agonisingly one short overall. The men’s final total was 162pts and the ladies 161.
Thetford Ladies’ Autumn Closed Meeting was a high/low drawn Greensomes.
Ladies’ Captain Gill Welham said: “Everyone was thrilled that Shelly Pleasance and Olive Hambling won the event with an amazing score of 41 points, as Olive has only just come back from injury.
“Shelly, who plays off four, couldn’t believe her luck to have 19 strokes for the competition and obviously made very good use of them as their score was seven points clear of the second-placed pairing of Helen Ayres and Liz Wigg.”
Third place went to Liz Robinson and Sheena Setchell on 31 points.