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Simon Byford’s golf column: Thetford Golf Club appoint Matt Perks as new course manager





Thetford Golf Club welcomes their new course manager, Matt Perks. Matt is a great addition to the Thetford team and a key part of the club’s journey to be one of the best courses in the country.

Matt has had an illustrious career to date. Previously, he was head greenkeeper (new course) at Sunningdale, the prestigious Berkshire golf club ranked in the top 10 courses in Great Britain and Ireland. Most recently, he was course manager at La Moye, the top course in Jersey.

Matt said: “I see so much potential here at Thetford.

Thetford Golf Club's new course manager Matt Perks sees a lot of potential at their course Picture: David Ball/Thetford GC
Thetford Golf Club's new course manager Matt Perks sees a lot of potential at their course Picture: David Ball/Thetford GC

“It’s already highly-rated, one of the top courses in East Anglia and on the cusp of the top 100 in England.

“However, there is much more that we can do to keep advancing and improving what for many is a ‘sleeping giant’.”

General manager Ellie Walton said: “We are excited and delighted to welcome Matt.

“His knowledge and experience are the perfect support for our strong greenkeeping team.

“Member and visitor feedback has been outstanding at a time when many courses have restrictions or are closed.

“They enjoy dry conditions underfoot, thanks to our sandy soil, and true-paced greens that some would be proud of in summertime.”

Bury St Edmunds GC

Nick Burgess fermented all the right ingredients to create the perfect round in the Men’s Stableford.

His one-over-par 73 equated to 41 points and a five-shot margin of victory.The Greene King brewer had a remarkable final eight holes of level par in tough conditions to seal the win.

I was lucky enough to witness the round and it was his consistent, short game that kept his score ticking along.

He would be the first to admit that his game was not completely on song, but his pace control with his putting, combined with his chipping skill and just a smidgen of luck, all contributed to the winning round.

Sean Studd came in second on the day with 36 points, which will help his bid for a Tolly place, and Daniel Bright was third – which may catch the eye of the Hambro captain.

It was all rise for the president in the Ladies’ Stableford as Judy Hamshere took the win with 32 points. Melanie Lesser was second on 31 with help from The Count ahead of Lynne Wright on the same score in third.

The Glasswell Cup is also coming into the crucial phase of competition.

The format is the best three Stableford scores from four rounds. This week saw round three played and the leaderboard is really taking shape.

In round three itself, it was Ian Shand and Mike Brooks who both delivered 39 points, Ian being The Count’s chosen winner.

There was also a pair of 38 points, with Graham Staff being the recipient of third place and Steve Flint in fourth.

In the overall shakedown, it is Graham Staff who holds a healthy lead with 115 points from his current three rounds, his lowest score being a 36 pointer. Mike Brooks is sitting in second on 106 points, but he has a 28 pointer to drop, so all to play for in round four next month.

David Matter will be glad his arm was twisted into playing in the Midweek Mixed Stableford.

It was 7am, dark and windy outside but a combination of David’s playing partners and the general manager convinced him to enter.

Even The Count rewarded his bravery by awarding his 36 points as the winning score, over Garry Clark’s same return.

Mervin Aho took third place on 35 points. Special mention to Amada Watson who was even more reluctant to enter the competition, and yet returned two birdies on the back nine par-threes and a healthy return on her £1 investment.

The Suffolk GC

The Suffolk Seniors had both a Medal and a Stableford this past week.

In a great relief for all participants, Haslett Schofield had an off week, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

I’m sure normal service will resume next week, but this time round there were different recipients of the all-important shop vouchers. Andrew Rudd it was who took top spot in the Medal event, with a nett 72. Rob Kennedy was second on nett 73 and Michael Downs third with 76 nett.

In the Stableford competition, the winning streak for Andrew Rudd continued as his 36 points was good enough for victory. The Count swooped in to decide that Richard Edmondson’s 35 points was superior to that of Steve Galpin in third.

There was also a weekend Medal held for the club members. In the Saturday iteration, Ashley Lyne saw his handicap drop after carding a nett 68 which gave him a one shot victory.

Three players came in with nett 70 so The Count was once again required. Ivan Snelling was awarded second place, Paul Hawkins third and Chris Tate fourth.

It was another nett 68 that took the win in the Sunday Medal, with Terry Hall the victor this time. Richard Budgen was second on nett 71 and Brian Hayy third on nett 73.

Have a great golfing week.