Amidst the recent celebrations at Marlborough Golf Club – a new vehicle has appeared. It’s the club’s golf GOLF CLUB BALL COLLECTOR 800jpgball collecting vehicle for its new practice ground.
It’s been an exciting few days for the club: their Juniors’ Captain, Ben Amor, won a prestigious international trophy, it’s their 125th birthday year and they have just opened their new practice ground.
Marlborough Golf Club rents the land for its course on the Common from the Town Council. The Club is run by the members and is a non-profit organisation. Effectively it is a charity and has to be open and affordable to the general public.
So its bar – with some of the best views in the area – has a general rather than a club licence. And the club house serves popular Sunday lunches to all comers.
Les Trute and Simon Amor on one of the practice tee matsThe new practice ground with eight tee mats is also open to all comers. A basket of golf balls costs £2 and a bigger basket costs £3.50. And there’s that machine for collecting the balls with strong protection for its driver in case anyone’s too enthusiastic driving from the practice mats.
This practice ground joins the club’s practice chipping area and putting green as a first rate encouragement to youngsters and more mature golfers alike.
The club has 750 members – of which 80 are women. It has 70 junior members – of which two are girls. The membership fee for each adult member includes free golf for one child up to the age of sixteen.
The Club is currently working on a special offer for junior girl members. Golf is not considered too cool among teenage girls: “You need a few,” says Les Trute, the club’s general manager, “to encourage a few more.”
The Marlborough's Junior Open Championship has a top prize of a year’s free membership – regardless of where the winner is from.
The eye-catching club house was opened in 1988 – in time for the centenary celebrations. Two years ago they set out on a three stage modernisation programme. They’ve achieved all three ambitions: they have proper disabled access; they’ve brought the toilets up to spec; and now they have their properly equipped driving ground.
Simon Amor is the Club’s resident professional providing individual or group tuition. The club employs five green staff. The Head Green Keeper is Robin Greaves who before joining Marlborough Golf Club had designed two courses near Bristol and sometimes goes as a consultant to other clubs.
General manager Les Trute describes Greaves as a ‘wizard’ who keeps the grass good and the greens true.
There are 27 golf clubs in Wiltshire and in a survey five years ago the Marlborough Golf Club was named as the friendliest club in the county - by its own members. And that’s a record they are very keen to keep up.
Ladies vice-captain Mandy Cooper tees offThe Club was founded in 1888 and members are proud of their Victorian heritage. So much so that on one of July’s hottest days they held a Victorian Ladies day sponsored by Hills – see below for a photograph of the full Victorian turnout.
The costumes were spectacular – and fines were imposed for any of the ladies who thought their swing might be better without a cartwheel hat or a ground length skirt and removed some of their costume.
The winner of the 18 hole competition was the team of Gwen Stuart, Sue Lyons and Jilly Hunter.
Victorian Ladies' Day at Marlborough Golf Club
Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.netEntries are now open for junior golfers from across Wiltshire to take part in the 27th Hills Junior Golf Championships, to be held at Marlborough Golf Club on Thursday, October 25.
Mike Hill, the chief executive of Hills Group said : “It is a great day for kids to come along and have some fun on the course. The competition caters for younger and older kids and there are a number of prizes to be won. We anticipate that the inclusion of golf as an Olympic sport from 2016 will inspire young Wiltshire golfers to take part in this type of competition where they can hone their skills for the future.”
Players aged 10 and over will play the full 18-hole course, whilst those under 10 will play 9 holes. Entry fees, which include a light meal, are £4.50 for the 18 hole medal and £4.50 for the nine hole medal. Tee-off will be from 10.30am with prize giving later in the afternoon.
Those interested in playing can obtain an entry form from Wiltshire golf club pro-shops, download one from Hills website or call Monique Hayes on 01672 518941. The closing date for entries is Wednesday, October 10.
Notable past winners of the competition who all went on to become professionals include Swindon-based European Tour and past Ryder Cup player David Howell (1991 and 1992), Gary Harris (1989), Gary Haugh (2003) and Richard Scarett (2004 and 2005).