The sun did indeed shine brightly on Civil Engineers from the region and their guests at the annual ICE East of England Summer Golf day at Hintelsham Golf Club near Ipswich yesterday. The course was in superb condition and some excellent scores were recorded. The event was sponsored by Survey Solutions who were on hand to measure the longest drive competition.
I have wanted to develop some following for golf in the region for some time and this was the first of what will hopefully be an annual golf day. It follows a charity event last summer as part of the Brunel the Bear initiative where a handful of members and guests played at Fynn Valley Golf Club a few miles north. I have also taken part in the ICE South East of England region annual summer golf day last year and I organised our event in the same format.
Hintlesham is a course I have played before but just once a couple of years ago at a charity golf day as a guest – and my memories of the course were good. It also seemed to be a good central-ish location with good road links from most corners of the region. It was also neaby our sponsors – Survey Solutions. Click the logo below to visit their website. They are also on twitter at www.twitter.com/survey_solution
Hintelsham is set amongst the rolling hills of Suffolk and is a parkland course with water only coming into play on two or three holes. The course is tree lined with mature trees and with particularly penal long grass past the first cut rough. Any errant drives are severely penalised. My favorite hole was the Par 3 4th hole – down hill with a small lake in a narrowing of the fairway between trees to a small green protected by some tricky bunkers. Reviews of the course can be found on www.Golfshake.com here.
The clubhouse at Hintlsham is superb with decent changing facilities, a modest shop and a large deck along the rear of the clubhouse linking to the restaurant, lounge and stud bar, and offering super views of the course. Fortunately the clubhouse doesn’t overlook the 1st tee or the 18th green making these areas less intimidating than is sometimes the case!
In total we had 17 golfers who signed up to play however 6 of these unfortunately pulled out for various reasons including injury but even with 11 players the day was still a great success. Part of the package was a staple golfers snack lunch of ham, egg and chips – which was excellent – and once this was despatched and some goodies distributed (courtesy of www.golfshake.com) the golf was underway.
We played in a three ball and two fourballs. I was off in the first group with Steve Hadley of Central Piling and his guest Philip Fouche. Following us was a fourball of the G H Bullard guys – Dan Henning, Richard Carter, James Thomas and Josh Brown. Bringing up the rear was the fourball of Dave Hutchinson, Andy Finnigan and Glyn Davies of Carillion and Allan Campbell of Mott Macdonald.
My golf was to my current level – erratic – and this was heavily penalised as errant drives off the tee were hard to find in the long grass and many balls were donated to the course. I finished on a measley 21 points. Steve had a decent round and finished with 31 points despite suffering from the heat and lack of fluids. Philip like me was struggling a bit with the long grass and on occasion just getting off the tee box ;). Partly because of the hunting time for balls the round took rather longer than we would have liked and unfortunately Philip had to leave after the 16th hole to get to a previous engagement.
None of us in our group managed to get on the green on the nearest the pin hole – the short downhill 6th. On the 18th – the longest drive hole – I had a fairly decent drive which drifted right and Steve put his well right and almost onto the 17th fairway. It turned out mine ended up maybe 6 feet off the fairway proper in the the first cut off rough but Dave Bredin of Survey Solutions still measured the distance and the marker was placed.
After grabbing a cold drink (thanks Steve) I returned to the 18th green to see the following groups holing out and to take some photos. It was exceptionally hot and there were some weary golfers heading up the last fairway.
Despite the heat and the dratted long grass there were some decent scores recorded. Both Allan Campbell ( 6 hdcp) and Richard carter (20 hdcp) played to their handicaps and came home with 36 points with Allan taking top spot on countback. Allan took away a bottle of wine and some balls. At the other end of the leaderboard in 11th place was Josh who received some balls and an Aim-Mate training aid to assist with his practising for next years event.
Nearest the pin was won by David Hutchinson who also got a bottle of wine. Somewhat surprisingly none of the golfers in the following groups could keep their ball on or near the fairway so the long drive was actually won by me – even though I was just off the fairway and not actually all that long at 207 yards. I was pleased to take away a certificate, shoe bag and a bottle of bubbly courtesy of Dave Bredin and Survey Solutions. Dave didn’t have a particularly busy afternoon but many thanks to him regardless for supporting our event.
It was great that people hung around afterwards to chat and watch the evening sun setting over the course which end what was a really excellent afternoon. We talked a little about how next years event could be bigger and better. Suggestions included a different location and possibly making it a team event rather than just singles. One thing is for sure however – there will be an event next year and more people will attend!
Thanks to all who supported the event – and see you next year.
A selection of photographs are included below which open to larger versions in new windows on clicking. An album of photographs can also be found online here.