A family affair at Cretingham

IF you like your golf to be played in a relaxing atmosphere, then let me guide you to Cretingham Golf Club.

IF you like your golf to be played in a relaxing atmosphere, then let me guide you to Cretingham Golf Club.

The former nine-hole course – now a par 71, 18 holes – is as laid-back, as it is picturesque.

Quintessential Suffolk – well yes, but it’s more than that.

For co-owners Neil and Kate Jackson, making the course, clubhouse and general ambience of Cretingham Golf Club, a place to want to go to, is working well.

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Situated near Framlingham, Cretingham Golf Club has come a long way since nine holes were first built in 1984.

Now, 14 years after the Jacksons, along with Neil’s in-laws Trevor and Isabel Coe, bought the course, they have added nine holes and 10 log cabins.

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But it’s the relaxed nature of the clubhouse, I most enjoyed on my recent visit. With my cup of coffee in the clubhouse, I felt I could have been sitting on holiday . . . relaxing with something a tad stronger!

“We like to be relaxed, but not stupidly so as to have loads of children running around,” Neil said.

“Yes, we welcome families and their children because we don’t want to be just another golf club. We want our members and guests to feel at home.

“I like to surround myself with happy people. If people don’t want to be happy, I don’t want them here at my club. The whole idea is that people can come, play some golf, stay in the cabins if they so wish, bring the family and just relax.”

That doesn’t mean to say golf is taken less serious at Cretingham than any other course.

Far from it.

In Rob Pritchard they have a good head pro, and Neil himself is also a professional, who moved to Suffolk from Lincolnshire in 1994.

The well-stocked pro shop has plenty on offer and the friendly bar staff appeared always willing to help.

The log cabins – something more clubs have, or are looking into – are a good source of income with “an 80% repeat uptake”, according to Neil.

“The cabins are important, they help subsidise the golf course,” he admits.

Neil is as relaxed about the future as he is about the present, even in these testing times.

“We have what we have and we don’t keep looking at the figures, trying to change things for the sake of it,” he admits.

“We feel what we have is good and the future looks that way too.”

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