St Audry's is reaping the rewards

GOLF: There is no doubt that the members of St Audry's Hospital Golf Club can be well pleased with their efforts over the past few years.When the hospital closed in 1993 there must have been some concern as to the future of the nine-hole golf course which first opened in the summer of 1966.

GOLF

THERE is no doubt that the members of St Audry's Hospital Golf Club can be well pleased with their efforts over the past few years.

When the hospital closed in 1993 there must have been some concern as to the future of the nine-hole golf course which first opened in the summer of 1966.

Hopkins Homes bought the whole site in 1996 but a year later St Audry's bought the course off it for £200,000, of which £120,000 came from a National Lottery grant.

This year a new clubhouse was opened, built by the members under the leadership of local builder Ashley Keeble, this year's captain at the club.

The clubhouse took a year to build, mainly during weekends of last winter, and all by voluntary labour.

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Peter King, a member since 1967 and secretary for the past 20 years, said: "We had at least a dozen people every Saturday and Sunday over the winter months and the ladies played their part by supplying bacon rolls and coffee."

The two-storey clubhouse is certainly impressive. From the outside it looks like an old colonial building while inside it is very practical and not one of those modern monstrosities too often seen these days.

Wooden beams and even two church pews help with the seating in the top floor bar and dining area that can hold 40 people for a dinner-dance.

There is also a kitchen to produce meals for the many functions the club holds.

Downstairs there is King's office and golf shop plus changing facilities for both men and women.

There is also a balcony overlooking part of the course and before next summer stairs leading to the balcony from the outside will be added as well as a purpose-built barbeque area.

It is no wonder the membership is full at 400 with a waiting list of 20.

Work, however, has not been confined to off the course. There was an investment of £30,000 for a watering system for the tees and greens and a further £24,000 was spent on greenkeeper Michael Eade's new shed to house the equipment.

Now a members' club, St Audry's welcomes visitors and green fee payers and also hosts the occasional society. Visitors need to ring King on 01394 380200 to check availability.

St Audry's Hospital is now a very busy club with plenty of competitions and matches against other clubs on the par 60 course which measures 4054 yards off the back tees.

King said: "We're always looking to improve the course, but as a club I'd say that we were a one-off. We're also one of the few clubs with a waiting list and our membership contains a big range in ages."

St Audry's Hospital GC is certainly a little gem, situated in Melton, and it deserves all the success for the hard work that has been put in on and off the course and all on a voluntary basis.

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