GOLF at Sudbury, Suffolk, is served by Newton Green Golf Club, situated beside the A134 three miles east of the historic market town towards Colchester.
The area is on the edge of Constable Country, and near the tourist, picture postcard villages of Long Melford, Lavenham and Clare. Sudbury is famous for being the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough.
In recent times Newton Green has become one of Suffolk’s most successful clubs, with its carefully prepared, 18-hole course offering a unique experience of heath and parkland golf.
Where else could one indulge in an atmospheric nine holes laid out more than a century ago by the legendary James Braid, blended with nine holes sculptured 22 years ago, and acknowledged as some of East Anglia’s best of the modern era?
Patience and tidy golf is rewarded on the original part of the course, while players can open their shoulders on the new section, which has two par fives, including one of over 550 yards. Par for the course is 69.
In the last two years Newton has won three major county ladies’ titles and its men reached both the county scratch and handicap team finals, winning the latter in August 2014.
Although golfers used the nearby Saracen’s Head pub as their headquarters for many years, a new club house was opened in 1981, and it has since been extended on a number of occasions, with full catering, bar and social facilities.
Outside events are catered for, and on the playing side special summer and winter offers are available to visiting golfers, as well as introductory rates for new members, including Davey Membership, which enables people to join who do not have the time for full membership.
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The club has the distinction of having employed the person believed to have been the longest serving club professional in the world (see Arthur Davey feature elsewhere).
The little hut from which Davey operated has recently been recreated as a starter’s shelter on the first tee – another feature which contributes to an intriguing golf experience.
Club president Michael Oliver is the third generation of the family to hold the honour. The club’s long and distinguished history was marked by centenary celebrations in 2007 (see elsewhere) with numerous events, including a horse-drawn brake transporting period-costumed golfers from Sudbury to Newton – just as occurred in the early years. The full history of the club can be studied in a special book published for the centenary.
The club seeks to show a progressive attitude, with a very successful junior section, as well as those for women, seniors and mixed golf. At Home days are staged for new members, and England Golf has congratulated the club on its mould-breaking policies devised to attract new members. Each summer a week-long golf festival is run for members.
Additionally, Newton is High Achiever GolfMark club, which recognises high standards in relation to coaching, creating a good playing environment, child protection and offering a high quality of care in the junior ranks.