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Simon Byford’s golf column: The Suffolk Golf Club youngster Toby Bendall celebrates first hole in one with his family

A hole in one is a special moment for any golfer, but when you are just 14 and playing in a county sanctioned event, what an amazing achievement.

Even more impressive is that the golfer in question is yet to get his first official handicap. That is what happened to Toby Bendall from The Suffolk Golf Club during a recent GolfSixes match.

The GolfSixes League is a national initiative to bring pre-handicap standard golfers together for fun and friendly Texas Scramble matches over six holes.

The Suffolk Golf Club’s Toby Bendall hit a hole in one in front of his family
The Suffolk Golf Club’s Toby Bendall hit a hole in one in front of his family

It allows new golfers to get on-course experience and it has been vital as part of the pathway into golf at many of the clubs in our area.

Speaking after his ace, Toby said: “I felt good in my practice swings and connected my 9 iron well in my actual shot. I knew it was close and had a chance but then we saw Steve (The Suffolk’s Pro) at the back of the green waving. My grandparents and the others persuaded me it was because my shot must have been close, then Steve got in his buggy and drove towards us and told me it had gone in. I felt so chuffed and couldn’t stop smiling.”

Congratulations Toby on such a great moment. To be able to enjoy it with your brothers and most of your family at the time is so special.

Those that have had a hole in one will share and enjoy your excitement, but don’t be surprised if the green-eyed monster comes out from those not lucky enough to have had one yet!

Thetford GC

David Ball from the greenkeeping team at Thetford was selected to assist at The Open Championship as one of the BIGGA team who support each group of players.

In the final round, David had a great draw as he was looking after the Rory McIlroy match. David quite rightly said: “It was a day I will never forget, despite the dreadful weather.”

David has volunteered at many big tournaments in the past, and will gain valuable experience to bring back to his home club.

Whilst David was working at the R&A Open Championships, Thetford Golf Club hosted the R&A Coronation Foursomes South & East Area Final.

The event, which saw more than 100 players competing, ran like clockwork thanks to the preparations made by Mike Horley, Gill Welham and the Ladies’ section committee. The players taking part were very positive in their feedback, remarking that the club was extremely friendly and well organised and the course was a treat to play.

Representing Thetford were Sue Pitcher and Jan Bone, who won the club event held in April, but unfortunately did not find the same magic that qualified them initially.

The overall and clear winners on the day were Debbie Howlett and Sally Price from Flempton Golf Club, playing off a competition handicap

of 28, who came in with an amazing 42 points. The winning pair now qualify for the Grand Fina,l to be held at St Andrews on September 18.

Bury St Edmunds GC

A total of 124 Bury St Edmunds members paired up for the John Farrow Trophy.

It’s a fourball betterball event where any combination of gender or age could come together to form the wining combination.

With the competition run over two days, much like the Open Championship itself, the weather conditions were a huge factor.

With the wind picking up mid morning on Saturday and lasting throughout Sunday, it was unsurprising that the best scores came from the early players on Saturday morning.

In third place with 44 points (countback was called upon) was Bev Allen and Sue Drummond, just pipped by Colin and Teresa Smith also on 44. The winning pair, however, was Dan Bright and Gary Ward with 45 points. Special mention to Donald Keith and Paul Hadley, and Nick Burgess and Julie Byford for scoring 43 points in the tough conditions on Sunday.

The Senior Men also held their Millenium Shield with 71 players competing. Countback was employed once again to separate first and second with two players returning nett 69. Steve Finch was the unlucky one and Ken Browne came out on top to take the Shield and the glory.

Stowmarket GC

The Stowmarket members had a rest after many competitive weeks, but the ladies held a Stableford which was won by Mary Ransome with 37 points. Second place went to Liz Laflin with 34 and Jo Finter third with 33 points.

I hope that you were all inspired by the Open Championship, and continue to enjoy your golf for

the rest of the summer season.

Have a great golfing week.