SGU chairman looks to the future

GOLF: Maurice Parks' introduction to golf was hitting a golf ball along the beach at Arnside in the North West of England. At that time he was living in digs in Kendal while working for the Manchester Corporation, and two work colleagues introduced him to the game.

MAURICE Parks' introduction to golf was hitting a golf ball along the beach at Arnside in the North West of England.

At that time he was living in digs in Kendal while working for the Manchester Corporation, and two work colleagues introduced him to the game.

"I played for two years with the wrong hand down before changing over," said Maurice, who next year will complete half a century in the game.

The 74-year-old is the new president of the Suffolk Golf Union, and until the end of this week holds the same post at Ipswich Golf Club where he has been a member since 1980.

Born in Cheshire, Maurice joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer immediately after leaving school just before the war ended. Afterwards he went to Manchester University before embarking on a career working for water authorities up and down the country.

After his initial introduction to golf, Maurice joined Kendal Golf Club where he was a member for 18 months, but did play for more than two years until he moved with his job to Scotland and became a member at Royal Dornoch.

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After five years at one of Britain's top-rated clubs, Maurice moved south to Devon and joined Oakhampton GC for three-and-a-half years.

"I had an 18 handicap at that time," he said. "But I wished I had taken golf up earlier in life. Nobody played in my family, and in any case, I couldn't afford it before I started work."

Next stop was Shopshire where he became a member at The Wrekin for five years before moving across country to King's Lynn where he spent a similar length of time.

"I was working for Anglian Water by now, and then I was transferred to Huntingdon where I joined Ramsey Golf Club," said Maurice.

"When I was there my handicap came down to ten and I even won the President's Cup before moving to Ipswich in 1979."

A year later Maurice joined the Purdis Heath club and in 1984 retired from business that meant that he was able to concentrate on golf.

In 1988 Maurice became captain and a year later joined the Suffolk Golf Union. His job was to look after development and look at sites where new courses were intended to be built before reporting to the English Golf Union.

In the early nineties Maurice was appointed to the EGU Development Committee, representing the South East that included on advising on water supply and irrigation for three years.

For the next two years Maurice will be the SGU president, and he said: "In my term of office I want to see juniors encouraged because after all they are the lifeblood of golf. If they are not encouraged then the game will die.

"I would also like to see more help given to the SGU executive committee to lighten the workload, while it's nice to see that a seniors competition will be getting off the ground this summer. There's not a lot of competition for older people, and this will fill a void."

Maurice has donated a trophy, known as the Parks Trophy, to be played for between the Suffolk clubs on an annual basis.

Being Suffolk president means that Maurice will be representing the county on the executive committee of the English Golf Union.

"I feel the EGU does a good job," said Maurice. "But it will be interesting to see how the money is being spent."

Being Suffolk president is quite time consuming, and Maurice said: "There's something on nearly every week between now and the end of September. I shall be away for 30 days or more including going to the EGU headquarters at Woodhall Spa for four meetings a year.

Maurice, who now has a 15 handicap, plays two or three times a week. His wife, Irene, is also a member at Purdis Heath, and is a former handicap secretary of the ladies section.

In his earlier days back in Cheshire, Maurice played rugby at school, soccer at university and cricket at both as well as in the Royal Navy before having to undergo a cartilage operation in 1948, which he said "slowed me down."

He was a supporter of Witton Albion, who then played in the Cheshire League, for the first time in the 1936-37 season and was a season ticket holder until he went to university.

His brother Bill was assistant secretary at Witton for a time while Maurice's uncle Jim played for Northwich Victoria, and missed only three penalties from 106 attempts.

Since coming to Suffolk Maurice has followed the fortunes of Ipswich Town, but no longer goes to Portman Road. "I used to go when you could stand, but gave it up once the ground became all-seater."

The Parks have five children, with their daughter living in Sri Lanka where Maurice and his wife spend a month every year.

JOHN Cox had his second hole-in-one in four years at Waldringfield Heath last week.

He was playing in the monthly Falconers Golf Society meeting when he holed his tee shot at the 108 yards par three second hole using a seven iron. His playing partners were Roy Mitchell, Dave Hunting and Dave Miles who saw the ball take one bounce and then roll into the hole.

A former member of Fynn Valley, John does not now have a club, but plays regularly in the Falconers meetings.

John's other ace was at the 192 yards par three ninth hole at Alnesbourne Priory.

RUSHMERE member Andy Langston scored a hole-in-one on the 200 yard par three fourth hole using a three wood.

THE Suffolk PGA Strokeplay Championship will be held at Aldeburgh on September 25. The top 16 players will go forward to the Matchplay Championship at Thorpeness on October 14 and 15.

The Dell Bower Trophy for Suffolk Assistants will be held at Hintlesham on Tuesday, July 23.

WALDRINGFIELD Heath has withdrawn from the Stenson Shield, the Suffolk inter-club men's scratch knockout event. They have given Hintlesham a walk-over and as a result will visit The Suffolk in the first round.