So simple for Simon

GOLF: It was only eight years ago that Simon Dainty first picked up a golf club, but now he has become Suffolk's newest professional.The 20-year-old has already made his mark on the professional scene by winning the Suffolk Pro Tour School Series – he won four of the six events – and next month will go to Five Lakes in Essex for the qualifying stage of the European Tour.

GOLF

IT was only eight years ago that Simon Dainty first picked up a golf club, but now he has become Suffolk's newest professional.

The 20-year-old has already made his mark on the professional scene by winning the Suffolk Pro Tour School Series – he won four of the six events – and next month will go to Five Lakes in Essex for the qualifying stage of the European Tour.

As a youngster Simon played a great deal of rugby and cricket, but when he broke his ankle playing rugby, it resulted in him missing out on cricket trials for Suffolk.

It was then that his father Paul took Simon to the driving range at Stoke-by-Nayland before joining the club four months later as a birthday present.

"I started getting good at golf, so I dropped the other two sports," said Simon who got down to a two handicap by the time he was 16.

Most Read

"I've always had an eye for sport and some natural talent," said Simon who was in Stoke's Hambro side by the time he was 15 and in the Stenson Shield team a year later.

He was a member of the Suffolk junior side at 15 and two years later was in the county first team, but he only played a couple of matches.

Despite coming second in the Suffolk Open at 16, he was not picked for the Suffolk team, and he came to the conclusion that his face did not fit.

Yet Simon went from strength to strength. He won the national schoolboy championship at 17 and represented England Schoolboys against Wales and Scotland and also played for his county in Sweden against the host county, Norway and Scotland.

The crowning moment of his amateur career came when he played in the Golf Foundation Schools Team Championship international final at St Andrews, representing Great Cornard Upper School where his father is head of PE.

The other two members of that team were Simon's younger brother Tim and Nathan Howe, and they finished third out of 12 countries behind Australia and New Zealand.

After finishing his 'A' levels, Simon got a job in insurance, but became tired of working behind a desk.

"I decided I wanted to get into golf and eventually turn professional," he said. That was in May of last year, and since then he has been working at Fynn Valley.

In his more formative gold years, Simon had coaching from Kevin Lovelock, the long-serving professional at Stoke-by-Nayland, Mark Hatcher, who was then an EGU coach and his successor Paul Ashwell.

Now he gets Kelvin Vince, the head professional at Fynn Valley, to run his eye over him, but most of the time he teaches himself.

"I get somebody to video my swing," said Simon. "Then I look at it and iron out any problem."

Now he is preparing to make the most after turning professional last month. "I shall give it my best shot," he said.

Simon could be joined in the professional ranks by brother Tim, who plays off one, sometime in the future.

"At 17 he's got more potential than I had at his age," said Simon a welcome addition to the professional ranks in the county.

SIMON Dainty (Fynn Valley) and Clacton's Jason Levermore filled the top two places in the Suffolk Pro Tour School series, and next month will play in the qualifying round of the European Tour School at Five Lakes in Essex.

Paul Wilby, who is also attached to Fynn Valley, will be having another attempt at trying to gain his European Tour card.

The final meeting was held at Fynn Valley where Andy Cotton (Waldringfield Heath) shot a four under par 66, one better than Dainty who was a shot ahead of third place Wilby.

Cotton completed a double when his team won the Pro-Am with a 20 under par score of 122.

Results – Professionals: 66- Andy Cotton (Waldringfield Heath), 67- Simon Dainty (Fynn Valley), 68- Paul Wilby (Fynn Valley).

Pro-Am: 122 (-20) Andy Cotton, S McGavin, G Clark and B Williams. 126 (-16) Jon Markham (Stowmarket), T Wright, D Markham and G Markham. 127 (-15) Paul Wilby (Fynn Valley), R Wilby, G Davies and C Clark.

HOW about this! Stuart Robertson, the head professional at Ufford Park, had an amazing finish to his round in a recent Captain/Professional challenge match.

Playing against Ufford Park's owner Colin Aldous and head greenkeeper Adrian Hollins, Stuart played the last three holes in just seven shots.

At the par four 16th he drove his tee shot to within ten yards of the green and then holed his chip for an eagle two. At the 17th he hit a three-wood off the tee and then a sand wedge to 12 feet. He holed the putt for a birdie three.

At the final hole Stuart boomed his tee shot 300 yards and then holed with a sand wedge for another eagle.

That meant that Stuart was five under par for the last three holes with just one putt.

Do any other readers have any similar stories to tell. Give me a ring on 01473 403551 or e-mail neal.manning@ntlworld.com

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter