Moul eyes cup spot

Mike Reeder has been named as the new captain of Woodbridge Golf Club, at a time of big changes for committee running the club.

Mike Reeder drove in as the new captain of Woodbridge Golf Club and I'm told it was a good tee shot down the middle, writes Tony Garnett.

He takes over from David Mitchell at a time when it's all change so far as the committees running the club are concerned.

Norman Mayhew, a former Cambridge University and Suffolk golfer, is the new president. Colin Ryan is the chairman.

The fortunes of the club could well be looking up. Fresh ideas and greater flexibility, with concentration on bringing the course back to its best, are among the ingredients needed.

Their Hambro Cup squad looks potentially more solid than in recent years now that James Keely and Chris Bye are available once again after

a spell in the professional ranks.

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Jason Finch seems keen to be involved once again and Sam Taylor is an improving young player.

Jon Marks, the new club vice-captain, lost his place in the England Seniors' international team last year and dropped to 15th in the national Order of Merit.

He is still very competitive and has high hopes that he can bounce back this summer.

He will captain the Suffolk Seniors once again and may make himself available for the Woodbridge team in the Parks Trophy.

Phil Platten, who is working hard to boost the junior section, has taken over from Mike Thomas (Felixstowe Ferry) as team secretary/manager of Suffolk Seniors.

Marks said: “Mike has done a cracking job but there is a lot of work required behind the scenes which people may not realise.

“The success of seniors golf shows that there is life after 55.

“The handicaps of some of the seniors are coming down and the message coming across is that they can still enjoy competitive golf and should be encouraged to play a bit more.

“It's good that the English Golf Union is laying on more events for the senior players.”

A party of Suffolk senior players will soon be off to La Manga to play in the Spanish Seniors Championship. They will be tested round the South course where the Stoke by Nayland juniors did so well against opponents from Scotland, Ireland and Wales in November 2005.

The players booked in for Spain are Jon Marks, Chris Ginn, Mike Duley, Mike Revett, John Cullum, John Doe, Peter Savage and Phil Platten.

A strong junior section is the lifeblood of any club. The Woodbridge club is keen to follow in the footsteps of Stoke by Nayland and Fynn Valley, whose policies have led to having players involved with English Golf Union squads.

A practice area and ball dispenser near the clubhouse is an idea I have heard suggested.

Concentration on the golfing facilities should always be paramount. Some clubs have tended to get their priorities wrong.

How times change. Some 21 years ago there was a waiting list at Woodbridge, who set a limit of 750 members, a figure seemingly cast in stone.

I found a letter in my files signed by Jimmy Thom, who was then club secretary.

Gordon Morgan, a Suffolk county cricketer and Eastern Counties rugby player, had applied to join the club with a handicap of eight.

The reply was: “The committee considers that the membership level is too high.

Although we are 26 below the “counting” limit of 750 set in 1983, most members will agree that this appears to be proving too many.

“After slowing down the intake during the past year the committee still feels that the figure is too large so has decided to call a moratorium for at least one year to get membership down to a more acceptable level.

This will be done purely through natural wastage with the situation being reviewed at the end of that period.”

I wonder how many youngish applicants were turned away at that time who would still be members now had they been welcomed in the first place. The key to membership numbers is how many of them actually play regularly.

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