Fynn for all at founders' day
GOLF: FYNN Valley are celebrating their tenth year anniversary and the course just outside Ipswich at Witnesham has come a long way in a comparatively short time.
FYNN Valley are celebrating their tenth year anniversary and the course just outside Ipswich at Witnesham has come a long way in a comparatively short time.
It was in the mid-1980s that the idea of a golf course was born and it was built on the farmland owned by today's club owner Tony Tyrrell.
He said: "I had to have a rethink because farming wasn't a long-term option. We were making a profit then, but only on a political whim."
So in April 1989 a golf range was started at Fynn Valley and three months later a par three course was opened.
"By 8am it was 20 deep," said Tony who decided that it was time to develop the golf concept further.
In the autumn of the following year, he set out a new nine-hole course that was brought into play in the summer of 1991.
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He said: "In the March of that year I put up a notice saying we would take 200 members at £150 per year. Within three weeks 230 people had signed up. That meant that the irrigation system was paid for and in 1992 we added the extra nine holes."
Things had started accelerating and by the October of the same year the first phase of the clubhouse was opened.
"I always had it in mind that I would do something with the farm buildings," said Tony "and once we started up the golf course it was only natural to turn them into a clubhouse."
One of the features of the clubhouse in the Valley Restaurant that is not only used by members but also for outside functions as well, like dinners and weddings.
About four years ago Tony bought another ten acres of land and extended the course. Off the back tees, the course measures 6,350 yards, has a par of 70 and provides a good test of golf for anyone.
There is a membership of 650 including 85 juniors and the club has four professionals – Kelvin Vince, Jon Bevan, Paul Wilby and Alex Lucas.
Tony said: "Over the years since I decided to turn it into a golf course there has been more plusses than
"I get a great deal of satisfaction of seeing what people have got out of playing here. Fynn Valley used to be a stepping stone for some members to move on to more established clubs, but that's not the case now.
"I had a lot of pleasure out of seeing the course develop. Of course, there was some heartache, especially in the early days, but now I get a real buzz out of it.
"The course really looks the part and as each year passes, it gets better. We have had to transplant some trees because you can't buy maturity, but the course has and as each year passes, it gets better. The course, however, has certainly benefited from all the rain we had last winter."
While Fynn Valley now looks in peak condition, Tony does not intend to stand still. He will continue to make additions and improvements where he thinks necessary.
A couple of new ponds will be put in before this year is out while there are plans for a new 12th green in 2002.
There was certainly some cause for celebration when Fynn Valley celebrated its tenth anniversary recently. A Founders Day meeting was held followed by a dinner.