New partnership brings golfing boost to Sudbury as clubs pool resources

At Old Joe’s: Newton Green manager Ben Tawell, Old Joe’s owners Fred and Josie Stow, and Newton Gree

At Old Joes: Newton Green manager Ben Tawell, Old Joes owners Fred and Josie Stow, and Newton Green chairman Peter Philpott. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A new partnership has been formed to bring golf to all age groups in the Sudbury area.

Newton Green Golf Club and Old Joe’s Golf and Leisure are pooling their resources and planning to work hand in glove.

Old Joes’ range and nine-hole course was opened by farmer and landowner Robert Fison. In the early days Newton Green professional Tim Cooper gave lessons there.

Fison then decided to lease Old Joe’s to PGA professional Stuart Smith who left to teach at Thetford Golf Club two years ago.

A new leaseholder, Patrick Collins Golf Ltd, took over. The range was then renamed Sudbury Golf and FootGolf Centre but membership has dropped.

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It has now reverted to its original name Old Joe’s Golf and Leisure and has returned to family control. The venue is in Joes Road, hence the name.

Josie and Fred Stow, daughter and son-in-law of Fison, have transformed the property since they returned from South Africa last year.

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I last saw Old Joes’ in 2013 when Irishman Barrie Trainor was a teaching professional alongside Stuart Smith. Trainor put the range on the map by playing in the BMW PGA Championship and the Irish Open at Carton House that year.

At that time the driving range looked rough and muddy. Today it has been transformed into a smart facility.

Tim Cooper, now a PGA advanced coach, is running nationally-backed Get Into Golf courses there. There is a four-hole academy course for children new to the game.

Scratch amateur Jed Seeley is working on marketing and golf development on a part-time basis.

Peter Philpott, Newton Green chairman, said: “We have long held the opinion that with greater liaison the club and range could both move forward in a positive way. This has not happened in recent years. We now have a very positive tie-up which can only be good for golf and anyone interested in the sport in the Sudbury area.”

Mr and Mrs Stow have ambitious plans. They have already encouraged FootGolf and welcomed the Sudbury Tudor Archers who use an outdoor range.

The nine-hole course, with two par fours, is very much ideal for beginners.

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