Senior's Newsletter - June 2020

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June 2020


From our Captain

It’s quite strange when I think back to start of the month when there seemed like endless speculation that Golf would be re-opening on this date or other because of news from around the world that this country or other would soon be opening it’s Golf Clubs. So it was inevitable what the hot question would be.

When will SBN Golf Re-open? and I tried very hard to keep on top of this every step of the way, following everyone from our Director of Golf Karl Hepple, England Golf and BIGGA representing the Greenkeepers Governing Body and the message couldn’t have been clearer at the beginning of the Month: Stay home, stay safe. As soon as we know the date for our golf courses to re-open, so will you. And it will be factual and so it was.

Boris decided to deliver what turned out to be a very muddled message on the Sunday  when I was and I’m sure everyone probably thought the same until on Monday came the real news Golf could re-open but only two balls would be allowed, but open it would be by the Wednesday and so

“We were back but not as we knew it”

And what a great feeling stepping back onto the first tee and surprising yourself that you could still hit the ball straight and 200 yards down the middle of the Fairway.

 “You what! I hear you say, in your dreams”

So back to reality, slice, hook and did you see where that went come to mind, but we are back and so we have to be thankful for that in the present circumstances.

The images spread across social media over the past few weeks had shown courses looking striped and fantastic during the spring sunshine. Only essential maintenance had been permitted throughout lockdown.

Both courses though were in fine fettle thanks to the efforts of a much reduced greenkeeping team supplemented by Karl on the odd occasion. Many thanks and well done Steve and team, fantastic job.

Many thanks must also go out to all the volunteers who have helped to get the courses into shape and will continue to do so over the next few weeks helping out the green keeping team “great work guys”

So a look forward to June and further (hopefully) relaxation of the lockdown rules enabling us to play in larger social groups 3 balls and even 4 balls maybe sometime during the month or even July. We might then be able to look at a more competitive form of Seniors Golf.

In the meantime, Gents, enjoy what you’ve got it could have been a ‘helluva’ lot worse.

Take care and stay safe, Terry

A Message from Lesley Garnett - President

I do hope you, and your families, are all safe and well.

It is so pleasing to see golfers back on the courses at Stoke by Nayland, even with the social distancing measures in place.

I would like to play tribute to Karl, our Director of Golf, and Steve, our Head Greenkeeper for all the hard work they have done in our absence.

Karl has had to cope, almost single handedly, with running the golf club, liaising with the G & L Board, the Club Committee and all the Section Committees to ensure communication with the members has continued. I would not like to say how many ‘Zoom’ meetings he has attended including helping to arrange the members events, for example a quiz, two sessions from Roly, a presentation on the WHS by Steve Clark, our Vice President, golf nutrition and golf fitness.

Terry Mitchell, your Captain, has worked alongside the other members of the Club Committee and the G&L Board to get the protocol in place to make sure the Club was in compliance with all the measures put in place by England Golf and the Government. The Club Committee, including your Captain, and two members of the G & L Board are now on a rota to work as starters to enable Karl to continue with the rest of his heavy work schedule.

The Greenkeepers have been working with a skeleton staff, doing essential work santioned by England Golf, during the lockdown. I hope you agree that they have been tremendous, to enable us to play on such wonderful courses, with very short notice. We hope as the income increases that Karl will be able to bring more staff back to work.  They deserve all our thanks.

The Course Liaison Sub Committee has organised a band of volunteers to do jobs that the over stretched greenkeepers, with their limited numbers, are not able to get to yet. The volunteers have started with bunker weeding and raking. As soon as is finanicially possible, hopefully, more of the professionals will be back from furlough. My thanks to our volunteers.

Please enjoy your golf, sparing a thought for all those who have worked so hard, mostly behind the scenes.

Take care and stay safe.

Course News

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What a difference a month makes. Government announcements have now allowed us to return to the course in 2 balls and many members have taken up the opportunity. Bearing in mind that the club had only a couple of days to undertake final preparations the very restricted number of green staff have done a fantastic job and both courses are in superb condition. One recent visitor, a SbN regular, commenting that he has “seen Stoke looking so good”. Many thanks to everyone involved in looking after the courses whilst in lockdown – a brilliant job.

Special mention should also go Karl who has worked tirelessly over the past weeks to plan, re-plan and re-plan again to do his very best to ensure the future viability of SbN golf club. He has put in a substantial number of hours and just for a bit of relaxation has even taken to cutting fairways. We are so lucky to have Karl on board – his efforts are very much appreciated.

Neil Ashwell

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Well done to Neil who decided in April to set himself a massive challenge. He had been thinking how I could support the COVID-19 Sudbury Storehouse Food Bank Appeal. Being over 70 he is self-isolating with his wife who is shielded due to asthma and immunosuppressant medication and mum-in-law who lives with them and is 98 in August!

Never a great runner, Neil did a half marathon when I was in his 30’s – his challenge is called 70 plus - over 70 years and running over 70km in May - maybe 100km plus!

Please consider supporting both Neil by donating to COVID-19 Sudbury Storehouse Food Bank Appeal. 

Sudbury Foodbank

Due to the support of our members, including the Neil Ashwell Challenge, and the on-going and superb involvement from Roger Davies a figure of £1860 has been provided to the Foodbank in the past 3 months. Excellent results. Well done and thanks to everyone concerned. Any support should be paid through Roger D – bank sorting code 11.07.54 account number 00201880

Pitch Marks – Moan 1

With greens being well watered at the moment it is ESSENTIAL that all pitch marks are greens are repaired before putting out. For some years now “it’s is always the Seniors that cause all of these pitch marks” -  we all know that that isn’t right but, well maybe, just occasionally. Please do everything you can to ensure that the course looks in as great a condition as possible.


Congratulations to men’s captain, Richard Allen, on his Hole In One on the 9th Gainsborough, playing with Brian May. Coincidently Richard’s only other HIO was also on the 9th.

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Some weeks ago, at the very start of the pandemic issues, Malcolm Norton took the initiative to set up a WhatsApp group to ensure a number of the Wednesday Swindle regular players kept in touch with each other. It clearly has been very popular and is extremely well used by most of the members involved.

Since the gentle easing of restrictions, in the past 3 weeks, it has served as an ideal way of arranging games – we would have expected this to be a great help to those newer members who don’t know too many other members but it has proved to equally popular with established members. 

If any other member would like to link into this group please contact Malcolm ( ) who controls everything extremely well.

Members would need to be Android users and (occasionally) have a fairly broad mind !!


A special mention this month to Alan Austin, his wife and the boys from the TMS, a number of which are Senior members. As a result of Alan and Marilyn’s efforts a sum over £2500 was raised to prepare 446 care packages for staff in care homes within the area. The packs contained a wide range of goodies to support these staff including hand cream, lip balm, sanitisers and, of course, the odd bag of Haribo and chocolate – well everyone deserves a little spoiling!

Excellent – well done to everyone concerned.

4 Balls

With the announcement in the last few days that 4 Balls can now be allowed on golf courses SbN are looking to see how this can best be introduced whilst at the same time ensuring social distancing, something that clearly is essential at the present time. Please rest assured that these changes will be introduced as soon as they safely can.

Pace of Play – Moan 2

Surely the biggest grip amongst golfers is being caught up behind slow players – the players who having taken 10 shots are still within sight of the tee and are still battling away manfully. How often have we waited in the clubhouse for the straggling group to arrive back at the end of a competition. You know if you are one of the offenders – or at least WERE one of the offenders. 2 clocks have been installed on each course to give you an indication of whether you are up with play or not. If you are behind the pace it is up to you to get a move on and help avoid slow play. Many thanks to the men’s section who have financed these clocks.

Inter Club Matches 2020

These have all been cancelled at least until the end of June. Mike M is keeping an eye on things and we certainly hope that we might be able to squeeze in some matches once circumstances allow.

Karl Hepple

Congratulations to Karl, who has now been appointed as Director of Golf @ SbN. Thoroughly deserved.


Well done to David Seymour, who correctly identified 7 of the current committee members from their childhood photos. The answers can now be seen on the Seniors web site.

Forthcoming Diary Dates ……………

Watch this space and continue to dream !!! We await further news / instructions from HMG and Golf England.