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Great news for Cretingham as the golf club gets new owners

FRESH START: Claire and Matthew Thacker, new owners of Cretingham Golf Club, with their one-year-old son Ralph. They are now in their second week at the scenic 18-hole course. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED

FRESH START: Claire and Matthew Thacker, new owners of Cretingham Golf Club, with their one-year-old son Ralph. They are now in their second week at the scenic 18-hole course. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED

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Cretingham Golf Club has new owners as from last week and will continue to be a member of the Suffolk Golf Union.

James Hastie (left) and Ryan Hastie of Haverhill who won the final Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting of the year at Ufford Park. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED James Hastie (left) and Ryan Hastie of Haverhill who won the final Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting of the year at Ufford Park. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED

Fears that it might close ended when Matthew and Claire Thacker, who had been living in Yorkshire, completed the purchase of the property from Neil Jackson. Ralph is their one-year-old son and George is the West Highland Terrier.

The new owners issued the following statement: “We would like to thank members for their patience and support during a period of uncertainty at Cretingham Golf Club. Work will be undertaken over the coming year to upgrade, enhance and develop facilities. All members will receive full communications and consultation with regards to these works. Our intention is to ensure that the facilities meet both your requirements and our standards.

“There will be a 20% reduction on current published annual membership fees for all those wishing to renew, rejoin or join before February 1. Contact members@cretinghamgolf.co.uk or speak to head professional Rob Pritchard.”

Work to upgrade the bar area in the club house will start very soon. A covered driving range is one of the improvements in the pipeline.

Pritchard stays on with additional responsibilities. It’s a new lease of life for a club that was founded by John Austin as a nine-hole course more than 40 years ago.

Next season they will once again be challenging for the SGU Beaumont Trophy for longer handicap seniors. Cretingham lost the final of the 2016 Beaumont Trophy to Stowmarket by four holes at Bury St Edmunds.

When the club was on the brink of closing, some members joined other clubs to maintain their handicaps. Now all original handicaps held at Cretingham are safe.

The club has not entered the Tolly Cobbold Cup this year because it is felt they might have difficulty in fielding a competitive team.

The par-71 course is set in 120 acres of rural Suffolk countryside with the River Deben a feature.

Neil Jackson and his wife Kate purchased the property in 2002 and extended the course to 18 holes and added a nine-hole practice course. They still own the Cretingham Bell and the Brandeston Queen public houses.

After a slow start by his standards to his winter on The Algarve, Jamie Abbott of Ipswich hit form by winning the San Lorenzo Classic.

He had rounds of 66 and 67 at the popular course with spectacular views of the Ria Formosa Estuary and the salt water lagoons. It is one of the most scenic areas of the Quina do Lago estate.

Abbott had to settle for 30th place on the Pinheiros Altos (Pines and Cork course) this month with rounds of 75 and 76. He was 14 shots behind winner Sam Robertshawe of The Army.

Previously he was placed 13th in the Boavista Classic with rounds of 69 and 70. Welshman Rhys Enoch was winner with 65 and 67.

A year ago Abbott was well on his way to winning a place in the PGA European Tour Portuguese open at Morgado in which he made the cut. If he can maintain his latest form he can do so again.

Leading Essex professionals took part in a Pro-Am at Thorndon Park on the same day as the Felixstowe Ferry December Winter Fourball event.

Andy Shakespear of The Warren was winner with a round of 67. Brett Taylor (Rivenhall Oaks) was runner-up with 68. Robert Coles of Maylands third with 70.

Other scores included 72 from Matthew King, Mark Stokes, Lloyd Kennedy and Chris Cutchie.

There is another Essex PGA pro-am at Woodbridge on February 13.I

It was Sam Forgan who won the professional prize at Felixstowe Ferry with a six under par round of 66.

There was a five-way tie for the better ball prize which went to Ian Carter and Paul Lancaster of Stoke by Nayland.

Runners-up were Scott Hudson, the professional from The Warren, with David Milne. They had 14 on their back six.

The other three were Jack Clarke (The Rayleigh Club) and David Kennedy, Adam Harper and Ben David and Ben Forgan and Keith Rooney (both Stowmarket).

Suffolk PGA staged the Joe Proudfoot Memorial Cup, a better ball event, prior to their annual meeting at Felixstowe Ferry.

Head professional Robert Joyce and assistant Peter Latimer were winners with nine under par. They beat Hintlesham’s Joe Cardy and Phil Westley by one shot.

A chilly start to the day soon turned to a clear sky with sunshine for the final Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting of the year at Ufford Park. The greens were quick and the course was in fine condition.

The better ball was won by Ryan and James Hastie from Haverhill with 40 Stableford points. They also won the Alliance meeting at Stowmarket on November. Jed Seeley and Gareth Evans of Newton Green were runners-up with 38. Alan Smith and Dave Drew of Stoke by Nayland took third place on count back from Dave Simpkin and Chris Briggs of Haverhill with 37.

The only professional in the field was Stuart Robertson from the host club. He had a round of 83.

The next Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting will be a pro-am at Bungay and Waveney Valley on January 7.

Other scores

36: I Benson and R Benson, P Samain and R Walters, T Warren and I Smith, J Cunnell and A Soby.

35: T Daniels and D Roope, G Clemson and C Morris, T Lyons and R Newman.

34: P Coleman and K McCredie, A Garrett and C Whyatt, D Matter and N Salmon, P Bowers and M Dalena, R Bland and D Brace.

33: J Snow and M Baxter, T Broomfield and M Firman, B Castle and M Moore, M Toon and J Clark.

32: J Mair and A Fish, C Leys and R Deasy, J Williams and D Yates, C Seward and A Middle, P Sandfield and A Ault.

31: C Aldous and S Robertson, B Paton and P Garnett, G Morgan and J Carr, B A Spittle and P McClennan, L Turner and L Hastie, R Brazier and J Paterson.

30: A Austin and R Reid, J Hillyard and T Burrows, T Etheridge and A Middle.

29: P Walters and W Darling, R Ross and R Clayden, M Eaton and K Rooney, D Bumstead and C Ingram.

28: R Davies and J Smith, C Mellings and A Cornish, P Lockwood and A Cunningham.

26: J Gilham and R Green.

21: M Milner and A Cherry.

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