Fakenham golf club marks 125 years

At Fakenham Golf Club are (from left) Graham Cocker (secretary), Brenda Townsend (ladies captain) an

At Fakenham Golf Club are (from left) Graham Cocker (secretary), Brenda Townsend (ladies captain) and Chris Baynes (men's captain). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

One of Norfolk's oldest golf clubs is celebrating a special milestone.

The original Fakenham Golf Club was formed back in February 1889 after a group of men from the town and neighbourhood held a meeting at what was the King's Head Inn in Hempton.

One hundred and 25 years on - and three golf courses later - the club is still going strong and boasts 230 members, ranging in age from six to 88.

The club, which is the third oldest in Norfolk behind Royal Cromer and Caister and Great Yarmouth, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this weekend with a special dinner which will see David Wright, the Professional Golfers' Association's heritage executive, as the guest speaker.

Club secretary Graham Cocker said the key to the club's longevity is its friendly ethos.

He said: 'We are a very friendly club and do the best for our members. We have a lot of loyal members and a good course which is a good test of golf and kept by some excellent green staff.'

Mr Cocker, who has been at the club since the new course opened in 1974 and has been secretary since 1978, added: 'It's a superb amenity for a town like Fakenham and we are very lucky to have it.'

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The club's first golf course was at Hempton Green where the club's 14 founder members had to deal with natural hazards such as grazing sheep and horses as well as picnickers.

In 1935, the course was moved to land near Pudding Norton with several holes crossing the racecourse. At the same time the club was renamed the Flag Moor Golf Club. The club floundered in the 1940s but was resurrected with the current course in 1974 after the old Walsingham Rural District Council took a 99-year lease on 80 acres of land belonging to the racecourse and bought a further 20 acres alongside it. Since the new nine-hole course opened, the club has flourished with members of all ages, including juniors and women. A book to mark its centenary was published in 1989, and to help celebrate its 125th year, the club hosted a pro-am earlier this year which saw a new professional course record set by visiting pro Ian Ellis.

Mr Cocker said: 'We want the club to carry on in the future and progress. We've got a hardworking committee and a hard working golf professional Colin Williams who does a lot of teaching and coaching and we are trying to attract new members while maintaining our core membership.

'We're a Golf Mark club which recognises we are junior-friendly and we have a very active ladies section.'

He added: 'We're a friendly, family-orientated clubs, always looking for members and anyone who is joining will be able to join in and enjoy golf - it's all about enjoying the game.'

Is your organisation celebrating a special milestone? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk