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Simon Byford’s golf column: Flempton Golf Club hosts Suffolk PGA professionals as new series begins

The love of golf was in the air at Flempton Golf Club on Valentine’s Day as 15 Suffolk PGA professionals took on the course in a Stableford format, to begin a new series of Suffolk Pros events.

Flempton was presented in immaculate conditions, given the weather we have had at the start of this year.

Despite being right next to Lackford Lakes, and having more than one natural water feature on the course, the land itself is sand-based so drains really well. The greens were as good as many courses will hope to get them in the summer, and they were reported to be running at 10 on the stimpmeter. For those not familiar with that unit of measurement, its pretty fast.

Simon Byford (left) and Adam Trett at Flempton GC for the Suffolk Pros event and Trett playing a bunker shot off one leg Pictures: Simon Byford / Ollie Riddick
Simon Byford (left) and Adam Trett at Flempton GC for the Suffolk Pros event and Trett playing a bunker shot off one leg Pictures: Simon Byford / Ollie Riddick

The weather on the day was changeable and it could be claimed that all four seasons were on display, including a biting cold wind, heavy rain and bright sunshine all mixed together.

For yours truly it was my first professional competition in six years, after spending the last four years learning to play left-handed. This meant that I went into the event with very low expectations but very high excitement levels. After starting with a par on the first and a birdie on the second, it was almost like I'd never been away.

Unfortunately, the mental demons that have plagued me in the past all came back and after the fast start, the scoring went south.

Charlie Sadler drives from the first Picture: Ollie Riddick
Charlie Sadler drives from the first Picture: Ollie Riddick

However, it was a fantastic day and great to play with my good buddy Adam Trett. We laughed our way around and even kept the green keepers amused. Adam’s one-legged-bunker shot looked so good that the greenkeepers all got their phones out to document it.

Fortunately for Adam, he hit a great shot and went on to hole the putt, much to their delight and his relief!

Onto the event and it was Rob Pritchard who took the win with a very credible three-under -par for 39 points. His five birdies and only two bogeys was testament to his consistent game.

He said he had played pretty well through the winter and was hoping to compete a lot more this coming year. Good luck Rob, we look forward to following your season. Second on the day was Calvin Sherwood from Rookery Park with one-under-par 37 points, and third was Ben Kerr on one-over-par for 35 points.

Adam Trett plays a bunker shot off one leg Picture: Ollie Riddick
Adam Trett plays a bunker shot off one leg Picture: Ollie Riddick

The bad weather has put paid to all the competitions at Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket Golf Clubs last week, but there was some competitive golf played, here we round it up.

The Suffolk GC

The Suffolk Seniors continued their Stableford season unabated by the weather. Andrew Rudd is beginning to make a name for himself in these events, and his 36 points was good enough to top the leaderboard.

The Count came by to determine that Richard Edmondson’s 35 points was greater than Steve Galpin’s, due to a superior last three holes.

There was also time before the rain of last weekend to sneak in a Midweek Stableford. Chris Tate, once again proving class is permanent, was atop the pile with 37 points from his five handicap. Bob Moye came in second with 35 points and James Laflin chipped into third with 33.

Thetford GC

This year’s winter eclectic competition at Thetford Golf Club went to the wire. It was claimed by Gary Robinson, who wins the Everard Gates Trophy after a season-long tussle with Mark Heffer. The eclectic competition is run over three winter months, with players having six rounds from which they select their best score on each hole.

With the final January rounds to go, there were many players still in the hunt. However, it came down to two front runners to fight out for the title.

In the end both were tied, with Gary Robinson squeezing home thanks to a better last nine holes. Peter Allott ran a close third place, followed by a host of other players.

General manager, Ellie Walton, said: “This year’s competition could not have been closer.

“It’s played in the knowledge that the Thetford course is a joy to play all winter.

“While wet conditions have closed or restricted play at many courses, Thetford remains open and dry underfoot.

“It’s a reason why we are so popular with visitors and new members are joining the club.

“It meant the exciting conclusion of this competition could be held, and explains why so many play in this event each winter.”

Despite the continued heavy rainfall, there is definitely a few signs that spring is around the corner. There may be a little cold bite in the air in the next few weeks, but rest assured, the better weather is finally coming! Have a great golfing week.