Thetford prepare to mark their centenary in style

Thetford Golf Club, which boasts one of the finest courses in East Anglia, is celebrating its centenary this year.

The club, founded in 1912, is planning a packed week of activities in June as a highlight of the anniversary year. The high-profile events begin when the club hosts the county's leading amateurs in the Norfolk men's championship on June 16 and 17.

On Monday, June 18 the club will host many of the region's top professionals in a PGA East region pro-am. Amateur teams will be made up with club members and there will also be spaces available for members of other local clubs.

Other events of the week include a dinner dance, centenary competitions for men, ladies and juniors, a members' fun day with a trick golf show, and a centenary dinner with invited guests from the world of golf.

Each member will also receive a complimentary commemorative bag tag, centenary diary and centenary book.


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The club is also making a subscription offer to new members who join in centenary year. Those joining before the end of January will pay just �500 for their first year's golf. From February 1, the first year's subscription for new members will be �646. The usual members' subscription is �820. A joining fee of �550 also has to be paid and can be spread over three years. Full details can be found on the club website, www.thetfordgolfclub.co.uk or by calling the club on 01842 752169.

The original course was constructed on an open sandy heath known as Thetford Warren, which as the name suggests, was land used to breed rabbits for their fur and meat.

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An 18-hole, 6000 yard course was designed by Charles Mayo and later improvements were made by Philip Ross-MacKenzie and James Braid.

The fine sandy soil never becomes waterlogged and therefore can be played in all seasons. After the First World War the Forestry Commission planted extensive pine trees on the surrounding land, now known as Thetford Forest. At the time it was the largest man-made forest in the country. From being a heathland course Thetford has gradually become a forest course.

The Thetford bypass prompted major changes for the club. In 1979 the current clubhouse was built in the centre of the course and was in place before the construction of the new road.

When the bypass was built, five of the original opening and closing holes were lost and were replaced by new, longer holes designed by Cameron Sinclair and Donald Steel.

During construction the trees on these new holes, which play as the 7th to 11th, were decimated by the hurricane of 1987. However, they have now blended splendidly with the old.

The course, as it plays today, is an attractive and challenging par 72 course, measuring almost 7,000 yards. The self-seeding trees from the forestry divide fairways of adjacent holes from one another. Gorse, broom and heather, in their seasons, add to its beauty. Thetford Golf Club is a Natural England designated Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its origins, flora and fauna.

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