Ufford Park's hard work bears fruit
GOLF: It was back in April as Ufford Park was enjoying its tenth year anniversary celebrations that Colin Aldous approached John Smith, the secretary of the East Region of the PGA about the possibility of staging a big event.
IT was back in April as Ufford Park was enjoying its tenth year anniversary celebrations that Colin Aldous approached John Smith, the secretary of the East Region of the PGA about the possibility of staging a big event.
Colin, the managing director of Ufford Park, had his wish granted and last week the Suffolk club staged an Order of merit event that was an unqualified success.
Ufford Park also created a piece of history at the same time by having the largest prize fund ever for an East Region event.
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The sum of £20,001 beat the previous best by just one pound that enabled the winner, Paul Barham, to walk away with a winner's cheque of £1,800.
The East Region, the youngest in the country, has been going for 15 years. It encompasses seven counties – Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex – that takes in 340 golf clubs and has 790 members.
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John Smith was full of praise for the way Ufford Park staged the final Order of Merit event of the season.
He said: "The course was in excellent condition and the greens were some of the best that we have played on this season.
"It is a fine test of golf for both the professional and the high handicapper.
All the players were full of admiration for the course and the facilities, and I did not have one single complaint during the two days of the tournament. That was a feat in itself and said a great deal about Ufford Park."
Understandably, Colin Aldous was delighted. "Ten years ago I would never have envisaged hosting a tournament of this calibre.
"After opening in 1992, we suffered a setback the following year when the greens were burned off and it took another year before they recovered. It was a huge own goal at that time."
Yet Colin, his wife Shirley, and the staff, several of whom have worked their from the start, have helped make Ufford Park the course it is today.
"Many of the professionals had never played here before," said Colin "but there were no negative comments, and all the players enjoyed the facilities and the friendliness of the staff."
It's been a terrific anniversary year for Ufford Park. Besides hosting last week's East Region Order of Merit event, they have also held the Best Western Seniors Masters qualifier and the Rett Classic, that is recognised as the biggest charity event in the whole of Europe.
In the Best Western Seniors Masters finals, that were held at Forest Pines in Lincolnshire, Jon Marks, a director at Ufford Park, finished second in his age group.
For the past two years Ufford Park has been voted one of the top 40 winter courses in the UK and it is now firmly on the golfing map.
Now Ufford Park has proved it can comfortably stage an event of this size and prestige, Colin will be hoping that there will be more to come in the future.