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Marlborough Golf Club celebrates success, an anniversary & a new practice ground

Amidst the recent celebrations at Marlborough Golf Club – a new vehicle has appeared.  It’s the club’s golf GOLF CLUB BALL COLLECTOR 800jpgGOLF 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 matsLes 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 offLadies 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 Victorian Ladies' Day at Marlborough Golf Club

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Marlborough Golf Club’s Ben Amor wins international under-18s championship

Ben Amor (copyright Leaderboard Photography)Ben Amor (copyright Leaderboard Photography)The England Golf’s prestigious Carris Trophy has been won by Marlborough Golf Club’s Ben Amor.  The 72 hole, stroke play competition is open to boy amateur golfers of all nationalities who are under-18 at the beginning of the year.

Ben is the elder son of Simon Amor, Marlborough Golf Club’s resident professional. Ben was a former pupil at St John's Academy and has just finished a two year course studying at Filton College in Bristol. His brother Jamie is still at St John's.

Ben is Marlborough Golf Club's Juniors' Captain.  His victory earns him the title 'English Boy Champion'.

For the second successive year, extra holes were required on the fourth day of the championship to decide the Carris Trophy at West Lancashire Golf Club. In the three-way, two hole play-off Ben Amor came up trumps to secure the biggest win of his young career.

Ben had finished tied on 286, two under par, with Italy’s Renato Paratore and Jamie Li from Bath. Paratore was eliminated with a bogey five after an errant drive at the par four tenth, which left a head-to-head battle between the two West Country boys.

At the short 17th, the second playoff hole, Li missed the green with his tee shot and took three more to get down for bogey while a solid par was enough to see Amor home.

Ben Amor congratulated by his mother (copyright Leaderboard Photography)Ben Amor congratulated by his mother (copyright Leaderboard Photography)“I’m in shock but this win means a lot,” said Amor.  “Words can’t describe it, but it is special. It was nice to win it at the 17th because it would have been a little difficult going down the 18th again. Jamie Li is a fine player and hit some quality shots, but I suppose everything clicked for me at the right time.”

Amor began the day tied with Paratore and fellow Italian Lorenzo Scalise but after an eagle at the second and a birdie at the fifth he had opened a three-shot advantage. He turned in 34 and was still in charge.

But he faltered on the homeward stretch with three bogeys in the last seven holes and while Paratore wasn’t setting the course on fire, the gap closed and the Italian drew level with a birdie-two at 17.


They were tied with one to play but neither could land the knockout blow. Although both had birdie chances on the final green before signing for 73s and then finding that Li had set the target with a fine 70 to set up the three-way tie.

After sealing his win, Amor paid tribute to Andy McGeorge, who posted 78 before rushing to Amor’s side to take on caddying duties: “On the 17th in the play-off I wanted to hit a seven iron but Andy convinced me it was an eight.  It worked perfectly and I can’t thank him enough.”

The three-way two hole play-off brought on some nerves: “But having worked so hard on my game and the backing I have received from my parents, it’s nice to see I’m getting some rewards.”

(Thanks to Leaderboard Photography for permission to use the photo.  More Carris Trophy photos here.)


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Cricket: Marlborough back on track again with away victory at Devizes

Marlborough bounced back from last week's defeat against Burbage with victory away at Devizes.

After winning the toss and deciding to bowl Marlborough had Devizes in early trouble at 4-1 with Will Langton taking the vital wicket of Joe Wookey.  Opener Tom Grant hit 46 for the home side and Jon Bedrook 20, James Langan 19 and Tom Andrew 14 all got starts for Devizes but failed to push on as Marlborough spinner Mike Bush took charge with 6-24 as Devizes lower order crumbled to 122 all out with youngster Fraser Gordon 2-26, Alex Cox 1-31 and Langton 1-24 the other wicket takers for Marlborough.

In reply Marlborough skipper Tom Norris 22 helped to see off the new ball at the top of the order with Bob Homani 30,  Peter Day 38 not out and George Penfold 19 not out helping to see Marlborough comfortably home in the 37th over for the loss of 3 wickets with Ben McGowen 1-21, Tim Saye 1-36 and Kyle Pack 1-23 the wicket takers for the home side. Marlborough skipper Norris said "It was good to be back to winning ways and hopefully we can go on another winning run".

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Grants awarded to Marlborough's rising sports stars

Young tennis star George Wardley, hockey star Rachel Cox and swimmer Ella Duncan-Zaleski with Sports Forum chairman Andrew RossYoung tennis star George Wardley, hockey star Rachel Cox and swimmer Ella Duncan-Zaleski with Sports Forum chairman Andrew RossIn a week that Andy Murray won the nation's heart by winning the men's singles final at Wimbledon, Marlborough's Sports Forum has awarded a grant to up-and-coming tennis star George Wardley.

The 10 year old, who attends Ramsbury School, told the forum – made up of representatives from all of Marlborough's major sports clubs – that he trains four or five times a week, and was hoping to play in regional tournaments next season.

And the rising star, who already competes at county level, is already used to giving interviews, having appeared on BBC Radio Wiltshire just prior to, and following, Murray's Wimbledon win.

There were also grants for St John's schoolgirls Ella Duncan-Zaleski and Rachel Cox.

Swimmer Ella, from Marlborough, represents the county at backstroke, and may compete at regional level if she can shave a vital second off her time.

Hockey player Rachel plays in midfield or defence for the south west of England squad, and trains at the Junior Regional Performance Centre in Bristol. She is aiming for a place with with the national under 16s squad.

There was a second grant for another young hockey star, Will Seward, whose cheque was collected by his proud father, Peter.

Will was unable to attend the Sports Forum AGM, which was held at Marlborough Town Hall on Thursday (July 11) because he was representing the UK under 18s in a three-match tournament against Germany.

Since last year, Will has left Marlborough Hockey Club to play for the Bath Buccaneers, and his juggling his success on the hockey field with AS levels at St John's Academy.

This year's grants – which are awarded to help the town's young sports stars meet the costs of kit and equipment, travel, and other costs associated with performing at a regional or national level – were made possible thanks to a fundraising dinner held at Marlborough Town Hall last October, at which cricket star Mike Gatting was the guest speaker.

Town councillor Andrew Ross, who presented the awards to the young sporting stars, said the £6,000 raised by the event was 'truly remarkable', and a sum the forum hoped to repeat.

Grants of £500 were also awarded to a couple of the town's newest sports clubs: the netball club and boxing club.

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Cricket: Marlborough notch up 7th straight win with home victory over Winsley

Peter Day hit a brilliant unbeaten 107 as Marlborough recorded their 7th straight win in a hard fought 19 run victory against Winsley in the match kindly sponsored by Track Tractors ltd.

After being asked to bat by the visitors Marlborough thanks to Day's 107 not out reached 247-7 off their 50 overs with Bob Homani 28, James Richardson 24 and Tom Norris 24 also making useful contributions with the bat with Brendan Nasser 2-41 and Peter Orchard 2-19 the pick of the bowlers for Winsley.

In reply Charlie Holton 54, Stuart Hammond 44, Brendon Nasser 38 and Giles Williams 37 always made sure that Winsley were in contention for the victory chase but once again Marlborough stalwart Ben Head made a vital contribution taking 4-48 brilliantly supported by teenager Fraser Gordon making his first team debut 2-36 ensured that Winsley were bowled out for 228 in the 49th over.

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Zumba takes off in Marlborough with a new studio where you keep fit and have fun dancing

Zumba dancers try out the new Movida Studio on opening nightZumba dancers try out the new Movida Studio on opening nightPeople don’t have the opportunity to dance any more, except at weddings and occasional special events. That’s one reason why Zumba has become so successful – and why Marlborough’s first Zumba Movida Studio is being launched tonight (Friday).

The Latin-style dance fitness programme created by Colombian choreographer Albert “Beto” Perez is now practised by 14 million people round the globe, at more than 140,000 localities across more than 150 countries.

It took off in Marlborough almost three years ago with the arrival of Laurence Costantini – a woman otherwise known as Lau – who says she is one of the “wild bunch” born in the mountains of Corsica.

In fact she is a trained lawyer and 44-year-old mother of four children who left London with her Chilean husband seeking a town with good schools like St John’s and started Zumba classes in Marlborough that have grown and grown in size.

And they have so flourished that she had 120 people a week enjoying the rhythm of dancing and at the same time giving themselves an aerobic workout that costs just £6 a session, the initial class free to allcomers.

“I have always been a dancer, from jazz and jive to flamenco and salsa, I dance all my life,” she told Marlborough News Online. “A friend too me to a Zumba class in London five years ago when the craze started. And it works for everybody.

“You don’t stop to learn the dance. You are learning while you are doing it and enjoying the rhythm of getting fit at the same time.”

Movida creator Lau (left) with class member Lisa Farrell at the launchMovida creator Lau (left) with class member Lisa Farrell at the launchAnd Lau believes that the popularity of Zumba, even in a nation accused of being lazy when it comes to exercise, is because of the lack of chances to dance nowadays, especially for women aged 35 to 65.

“Nobody is dancing anymore,” she proclaimed. “It has become something rare. You dance at weddings and maybe once a year at a special event but there is no longer the opportunity to get on to a dance floor.

“That’s why TV programmes like Strictly Come Dancing are so popular and watched by millions. Zumba combines the pleasure of dancing with fitness and makes you feel you have done something good for yourself. And having fun.”

Her initial Zumba classes were daytime at Marlborough Football Club, starting with a handful of people, then following those with evening classes in St Peter’s School as more people joined in.

“People have been so warm and welcoming and showed such fantastic enthusiasm that I then had enough to keep the classes going. And lots of people who met in my classes have since become friends.”

So when the football club space became unavailable Lau found herself a site for a permanent Marlborough Movida Studio at the Foxfield Unit among the industrial buildings being refurbished in Elcot Park.

And they are being given a launch party tonight (Friday).

“Now I can comfortably accommodate 40 people in two classes a day, one morning, one evening six days a week and I have a Saturday morning session as well,” said Lau, who also teaches Zumba at East Grafton on Tuesdays.

Though it is mainly women who have joined, Lau includes men in her classes. “Three men are now coming very regularly with their wives and too love dancing,” she said. “And for them it is an important way to keep fit because men have less occasion than women to go to a studio in the daytime.”

She added: “I feel I am very lucky at what I am doing and being able to fit it in with looking after my children, who are aged 13, 11, eight and four.

“I am definitely surprised by the way Zumba has taken off in Marlborough, but then it has become a world trend now and it gives you a sense that you are part of something big – and also something that is part of the community.”

To contact Studio Movida go to and enter Marlborough.

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Women urged to come Back to Netball

Women’s Back to Netball sessions start again in Marlborough from September, with the option of two different sessions to attend.

Back to Netball is a fun session that is aimed at those people who used to play the game, perhaps at school, or who have never played the game before and would like to start.

Back to Netball sessions will be held at Marlborough Leisure Centre on Monday mornings from 11.15am to 12.15pm, and on Wednesday evenings between 8pm and 9pm, and cost £3 per session.

For more information contact Sophie Warner, Wiltshire Netball Development Officer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07540 126813.  

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Cricket: Marlborough's unbeaten run founders at home to Burbage

Marlborough's eight-game winning streak came to an end with defeat against local rivals Burbage in the game sponsored by Chris's Barber Shop of Marlborough High Street.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat Marlborough were in early trouble at 25-4 but Peter Day 34 and George Penfold 28 steadied the ship for the home side.

At 119-8 the hosts were still in trouble but Ben Head 27 not out ensured that Marlborough reached 157-9 off their 50 overs with Burbage skipper Tom Wallbridge 3-26, Darren Freegard 3-27 and Akash Sharma 3-50 taking the wickets for the visitors.

In reply Burbage opener David Cope 44, overseas star Michael Papps 68 not out and Daniel Wootton 26 not out helped Burbage reach their victory target for the loss of just 2 wickets with Head 1-31 and Tom Davies 1-21 the wickets takers for Marlborough.

Speaking after the game Marlborough skipper Tom Norris said:  "We just didn't turn up and our top 4 got blown away.  It's disappointing but we have to move on and put another run together and I'm sure there will be lots of twists before the end of the season"

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Cricket: Marlborough's unbeaten run now extends to eight with emphatic away victory at Calne

It's now eight wins on the bounce for Marlborough after a 36 run victory away at Calne.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat Marlborough skipper Tom Norris 31 and overseas star Bob Homani 61 put the visitors in a position to build on.

But with the middle order dismissed cheaply the contributions of Mike Bush 21 and Ben Head 17 lower down the order were important as Marlborough reached 186 before being bowled out with Tom Knott 3-16 the leading bowler for the hosts with Thomas Richards 2-38 and Darren Holcombe 2-24 giving good support.

In reply for Calne Richards 26, George Sykes 20, Sean Adams 17 and Daniel Knight 17 all made starts but were unable to make the big score Calne needed as Homani 4-33, George Fox 3-37 and Harrison Painter 2-32 ensured that Calne were dismissed for 150 in the 47th over.  

Marlborough skipper Norris said " it was a below par performance but we won when playing badly".

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Cricket: Marlborough's unbeaten run continues with comprehensive victory over Nationwide

Nationwide with victory against the league strugglers. Put into bat by the visitors Nationwide's batsmen struggled against the Marlborough bowling attack spearheaded by George Fox who took 4-12.

Nationwide's Stuart Archer 44, Roger Thwaites 20 not out and John Reivers 12 were the only home batsmen to reach double figures as Fox ably supported by Ben Head 2-13 and Bob Homani 2-6 ensured that Nationwide were dismissed for 95 all out in the 38th over.

In reply despite losing opener Nick Crabbe early on Marlborough's Bradley James 43 not out anchored Marlborough's reply.

With support from Homani 19 and Peter Day 25 not out Marlborough reached their victory target in the 33rd over.

Victorious skipper Tom Norris said "The bowlers did a great job which put us in a commanding position,it was a fine performance from the boys which will give us confidence going into the Winsley game".

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Cricket: Marlborough extend excellent start to season with a steady victory over Trowbridge

Marlborough recorded their 5th straight win defeating Trowbridge at home in the match kindly sponsored by David Dudley Jewellers of Marlborough.

After being asked to bat by the hosts Zac Elkin 56, Alex Hart 48, Tom Oakley 27 and Mike Reynolds 25 put Trowbridge in a healthy position at 165-4.   However a lower order collapse saw Trowbridge bowled out for 182 thanks mainly to Marlborough bowling pair Ben Head 5-37 and Alex Cox 3-46.

In reply Marlborough were in the delicate situation at 92-5.  But George Penfold 30 not out and Harrison Painter 34 steadied the ship for the hosts as Marlborough reached their victory target in the 45th over with Macca Brown 3-27 and Oliver Weaver 2-37 the leading bowlers for Trowbridge.

Speaking after his sides victory Marlborough skipper Tom Norris said "Penfold steadied the ship and Painter produced a match winning innings but we didn't play well and were a little complacent, it's important we learn from this game and make sure we earn the right to win and don't get complacent again"

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