Ted Goodwin - dedicated greenkeeper

Golf by Neal Manning:WHEN Ted Goodwin was sent up to St Clements Golf Club as part of his horticultural training course nine years ago, it proved to be the pivotal time of his life.


WHEN Ted Goodwin was sent up to St Clements Golf Club as part of his horticultural training course nine years ago, it proved to be the pivotal time of his life.

After completing his course, Ted was offered the job as greenkeeper on a full time basis, and he's been there ever since.

During his time the course has improved dramatically, especially the greens that Ted described as "terrible" when he first went there.

Yet Ted wanted to go into tree surgery after he had left the BX Plastics (now Storeys) factory at Brantham where he had worked for 25 years.

"I was cheesed off, and didn't want to do shift work, so I left and went on the dole for a month," he said.

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"Then I went on a three-month training course at the Sue Ryder Home at Chantry Park, but after a fortnight I was told I was being sent up to St Clements to work.

"I didn't even know there was a golf course there."

Ted's first impressions were not very good. He said: "The greens were really terrible, the rough was between six and eight inches high and the course was in a hell of a state."

Bert Long, a long serving member and a past veterans captain, helped Ted for the first two or three years, but since then he has been on his own.

When St Clements put an irrigation system in three years ago it made a big difference and Ted's job easier.

"I used to hand water the greens and it took hours," he said. "Now it's all automatic and all I have to do is set the timer."

Ted describes his job as a labour of love, saying: "I wished I had found this job years ago."

There's hardly a day in a year when Ted is not tending to the course that he has developed into one of the finest nine-hole courses around and provides a good test of golf.

He said: "In the summer I normally start between 4-4.30 am and get most of the work done before it gets too hot. I'll have a break and then continue working through to 10 pm.

"I usually come up most Saturday and Sunday mornings to take the worm casts off the green, especially if there are matches."

Ted is rightly proud of his work on the course and this year he will be working hard on the tees.

"I want to make them a lot bigger so the members can play off the whites, yellows and reds, and hopefully all the work will be completed by the end of the year."

Ted is always pleased when visiting clubs comment on how good the greens are at St Clements, in particular, and the state of the course in general.

And those people think that it is like a pitch and putt course are very much mistaken. With a par of 31, St Clement's is a tough test off the back tees.

Ted said: "I've played at some 18-hole courses where you can get away with shots you couldn't do here. You have to be straight and accurate, and there's not many visiting clubs that beat us here in matches."

Two years ago seven new bunkers were put in that helped tighten up certain holes. "There's not a lot more you can do to improve it. For instance, you can't increase the length," said Ted who has been to Otley College since working at St Clements to gain his spraying certificates and NVQs.


Ted, who plays off a 14 handicap, did not take the game until a year after he had started as greenkeeper.

"I learned the game by watching other people," he said. "Alan Dickinson, this year's vice-captain, took me round a few times before telling me he couldn't teach me any more.

"I've never had a lesson, and after putting in three cards I was given a 28 handicap. In 1999 I was down to 12.2, but now play off 14."

Ted, who plays twice a week as well as many of the club matches, has played once for St Clements Tolly Cobbold side.

"It was the second year that the club had entered the Tolly. I was picked as first reserve, but two days before we were due to play at Rookery Park, Dixie Brown had his ten-handicap cut and therefore wasn't eligible to play.

"I didn't play a courtesy round, and was just thrown into it as Graham Hurren's partner."

So, would Ted move if he had the chance? He said: "Sometimes I think I would like to work at an 18-hole course, but then I wouldn't be my own boss. I'm happy here, and as far as I'm concerned, the main thing is to be happy in your work."

Ted's love and expertise of greenkeeping has certainly paid off as far St Clements Golf Club is concerned.


TOP MAN: Ted Goodwin cutting the ninth green at St Clements. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR




IT was the windiest day for a long time a fortnight ago, but that didn't stop two Ipswich Golf Club members achieving holes-in-one at Purdis Heath.

In the morning Tony Dodds holed his tee shot at the 148 yards par three tenth hole, that was playing into the teeth of the wind, using a five wood. His playing partner was Forbes Parry.

Later in the day Tony Griggs achieved his second ace within the past year by holing out at the 173 yards par three sixth, playing down wind, with a seven iron. Vic Tutt was his playing partner.


Chris Bye (use picture that should be in system of Bye and Whymark that was taken last summer)


TWENTY members at Ipswich Golf Club are prepared to fork out £1,500 apiece over the next three years in the hope of backing Chris Bye all the way to the top.

Chris, who is assistant to Stephen Whymark at Purdis Heath, has a big future ahead of him, but at the moment lacks the necessary experience.

Steve's confidence in his 20-year-old assistant is such that he has become the first partner in the sponsorship scheme that will run from April 6 of this year to April 5, 2005.

Each member of the sponsorship scheme will pay £500 for the next three Aprils, but whether they will get a return on their investment remains to be seen.

As Steve says: "Clearly we hope Chris will be successful, but the next three years might have to be seen as a learning period in his career.

"The scheme must therefore be viewed as a high-risk venture, but I'm delighted at the response and people prepared to back Chris."

The aim is to keep the sponsorship scheme as simply as possible, but as Steve says: "It is vital that the venture is well-managed.

"I will be responsible for golfing matters, Peter Archer will oversee the finances, Toby Pound, a senior partner at solicitors Prettys, is drawing up the legal documentation and David Bray will act as tax consultant. The scheme will operate as a limited partnership with a maximum of 20 partners."

The sponsorship cash will be needed to fund Chris' tournament expenses such as entry fees, accommodation and travelling costs. Chris will contribute all his winnings to the scheme.

Steve said: "Any returns available to partners will be paid on or after April 5, starting in 2003. Surplus funds will be used initially to repay or reduce the partners' stake.

"Once all stakes have been repaid, any remaining cash will be split between Chris (70 per cent) and the partners (30 per cent)."

Chris, who is hoping to play several events on the Satellite Tour this year, heads off to the warmth and sunshine of the French Riviera this weekend to play in two 54-hole tournaments.

Joining him will be Paul Barnard, an Ipswich member who turned professional after spending four years at college in America.

There is no doubt that Chris has the ability to succeed. He hits the ball tremendous distances and in Steve's words "has reached the stage where he makes the game look easy.

"Anyone who can reach the par five 11th hole (533 yards) with a drive and mid-iron has clearly got the length to compete with the best players in the country."

It is a tremendous boost to Chris that 20 Ipswich Golf Club members have shown their faith in him by sponsoring him for the next three years.

A shy and unassuming boy, Chris needs to come out of himself more if he is to make a name for himself in the future.

There's nothing wrong with his game, and clearly his boss is convinced he will make it through to the big time.

"I personally feel confident Chris will succeed," said Steve. "So much so that is why agreed to become the first partner and pledge the first £500.

"Look on it as owning a racehorse without having to pay for its oats!"


Rushmere Pro-Am


THE Rushmere Pro-Am meeting on Thursday, February 28 has a main sponsor.

John Banks "Honda" Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds has agreed to sponsor the event that is expected to attract a maximum entry of 32 teams from Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

John Banks is a former cycle scramble rider with the BSA team.

Other sponsors are RSH Golf Supplies, Pin High Golf and Golf Direct.

The format for the Pro-Am, that used to be one of the most successful in East Anglia for many years, is teams of four costing £100 per team and includes coffee on arrival, 18 holes of golf, a two-course meal and prize fund.

It will be medal scoring with the two best scores on each hole to count. Players will play off threequarters of their club handicap to a maximum of 24.

The top four professionals will receive money while there will vouchers for the first four teams.

Tee-off times will be from 9.30 am with priority given to teams that have a professional. Special early tee times will be available on request.

Entry forms are available from club professionals or by phoning 01473-728076.


SPONSOR: Chris Hepton, the Ipswich manager of John Banks "Honda", the main sponsors at the Rushmere Pro-Am at the end of the month. Picture: CONTRIBUTED