Golf professional at centre of debate

A CRUNCH meeting is to take place next week to decide the future of the professional employed at one of Suffolk's most prestigious golf clubs.Although it is believed the committee at Rushmere Golf Club wants to sever its connection with resident pro Nick McNeil, some members are thought to be unhappy over his proposed departure.

By Colin Adwent

A CRUNCH meeting is to take place next week to decide the future of the professional employed at one of Suffolk's most prestigious golf clubs.

Although it is believed the committee at Rushmere Golf Club wants to sever its connection with resident pro Nick McNeil, some members are thought to be unhappy over his proposed departure.

However Bob Tawell, secretary of the club, which once had Sir Alf Ramsey as a member, was adamant the move to oust long-serving Mr McNeil had not caused a rift in its membership.

"There is not a split in the club," said Mr Tawell. "There is not that type of atmosphere here."

Despite this, there are believed to be rumblings of discontent among dissenters who are against the replacement of Mr McNeil - the club pro for almost 25 years.

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Because of the concerns over his position the 700-member club has called a Special General Meeting (SGM) at 7.30pm on Monday at Copleston High School in Ipswich.

Mr Tawell said he was unable to say how many people would be attending the meeting, however he stressed all members of the club were welcome to take part if they wished.

Mr McNeil is not employed as a full-time member of staff at Rushmere. In his position as club pro he gets paid a retainer which is renewed by the committee on June 1 each year. During his career at the club Mr McNeil has taught golf to many of Suffolk's leading players.

He will not be allowed to attend Monday's SGM as he is not a member of the club.

Mr McNeil declined to comment on the meeting which will decide his fate.

The debate will be presided over by six committee members including club president Jack Warburton, club captain George Crozier, and Mr Tawell.

Rushmere Golf Club is one of Suffolk's premier clubs. Although golf has been played at Rushmere Heath for more than 100 years Rushmere Golf Club was only formed 76 years ago after Ipswich Golf Club moved to Purdis Heath.

The club membership is primarily made up of men, women, juniors, social members and mid-week members. Annual membership costs in the region of £450 per year.

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