A tribute to Jon Marks... One of Suffolk’s best-ever amateur golfers

Jon Marks

Jon Marks - Credit: Archant

Jon Vaughan Treherne Marks, who has died aged 75, was one of Suffolk’s best-ever amateur golfers, writes Tony Garnett

Chief Executive Officer of Rockford Marks, a company he formed after leaving the Royal Air Force, he set up his office first in Woodbridge and then moved to Bentwaters.

It was on the golf course, though, that he will be best remembered by so many people.

Clearly his business was a roaring success judging by the very smart cars that would appear in the Woodbridge Golf Club car park often with a distinguishing JVT number plate.

His name appears on most of the Suffolk Golf Union silverware. He won the Suffolk Amateur Championship in 1974 and 1998. He won the Suffolk match-play in 1975 and 1983 and was Suffolk Open champion in 1984.

He won the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase at Walton Heath in 1983, a prestigious amateur 36-hole stroke play event whose previous winners had included Bernard Darwin in 1919 and Michael Bonallack (on more than one occasion).

He surprised officials and rival players by using a hard Pinnacle ball. He knew it would be longer off the tee. Although it would not take spin on the greens, he merely played short of the pin to let the ball run up.

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The following year this trophy stayed in Suffolk with the winner being Max Turner of Rushmere. Max and Jon sometimes teamed up in the Suffolk Amateur Foursomes and were winners in 1988. Marks had previously won this trophy with John Doe in 1978.

In 1984 he won the Sherry Cup in Sotogrande, an event now called the European Nations Championship.

He used his trophy for an annual 27-hole junior event at Woodbridge over the 18 holes of the Heath Course and nine holes of the Forest course which he introduced in 2007.

On top of this he was awarded the Winstanley Trophy for outstanding service to Suffolk golf in 1984 and 2003.

He was Suffolk county captain in 1985 and was the outstanding player at Woodbridge Golf Club over a 33-year period winning the Club Championship 18 times between 1972 and 2005. On many other occasions he was runner-up such as when he lost in a play-off against Chris Ginn in 1996.

Surprisingly he did not take up golf until his early twenties but was a fast learner. He won trophies in the RAF before moving to Suffolk and joining Woodbridge Golf Club in 1971.

He has been chairman of Woodbridge Golf Club since a change of management structure at the club four years ago. He holds the Woodbridge course record of 64 and held course records at Ipswich, Stoke by Nayland and Thorpeness.

He made his mark on the national stage being the English Senior men’s champion at Saunton in 1998. He represented England in the Senior home internationals and was captain of England Seniors in Europe.

His most recent success was in a tournament in Bahamas when he played in a team with former PGA Tour player John Mahaffey.

Last October Jon injured his shoulder in a fall. He opted against surgery which would have kept him off the golf course for a year.

He returned to play nine holes only a few days before he died and said that his shoulder was no problem.

In recent years Jon has been a regular supporter of Ipswich Town Football Club and had been invited to watch matches as a guest of owner Marcus Evans in his private executive box together with former Ipswich player and coach Charlie Woods, also a former Suffolk golf captain and three-times Woodbridge club champion.

Like a former Woodbridge Golf Club legend, the late Rupert Fison,

Jon’s funeral will be on June 6 at 1pm at St Mary’s Church in Woodbridge.

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