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Late starter Jack Fingleton earns first victory at Rookery Park Golf Club

PUBLISHED: 12:33 25 February 2011

Rookery Park GC's Jack Fingleton

Rookery Park GC's Jack Fingleton

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Rookery Park GC's Jack Fingleton

IN the Rookery Optional Stableford, Jack Fingleton started by chipping in for a birdie and four points on the first hole.

After steady golf through 16 holes he did exactly the same thing again when he chipped into the hole for another birdie and four more points on the last hole. It gave him 37 points and his first victory. He started golf at the age of 50.

Earlier he had been a long distance and cross country runner, as well as a passionate supporter of Southend United.

However, when he made a critical comment regarding the club, the chairman told him that, if he was unhappy, he could “clear off and support one of the other 91 clubs”.

An angry Fingleton discontinued his support and it was timely that a friend invited him to try a round of golf. He was hesitant as he believed that golf was an elitist game played only by the rich.

Once persuaded, however, he borrowed some old clubs and ventured out onto a Canvey Island municipal course. From that moment he has been completely hooked on golf. His enthusiasm was fuelled when he scored a hole-in-one and when he moved to Lowestoft five years ago he joined Rookery Park.

He described it as thinking he had “died and awoken in heaven”. He loves everything about the club and plays as often as he can. His handicap is now 19.

Richard Alderton, Mike Hewitt and Sam Jaggard won prizes in the Stableford.

With the Stenson, Hambro and Tolly plans for the coming season now taking shape interest turns to the Seniors’ section where both of the Parks and Beaumont team captains, Mike Rees and Pat Barton, are beginning to formulate their plans.

Both of them are renowned for hitting ‘fresh air’ shots which missed the ball by miles and nearly gave both of them hernias. For Rees, who previously considered golf to a be game for ‘old men,’ it was his first ever shot. With Barton it was his first shot at Rookery.

Rees was so shocked that he took the game up seriously and embarked on a highly successful golfing career both on and off the course. He believes that success on a golf course depends on regular practice, commitment and a resolve never to give in. These qualities, he believes, will be required to retain the Parks trophy.

Pat Barton’s first experience of competitive golf came when, as a 24 handicapper and member at Aldeburgh, he received an urgent phone call. A very late call-off from the club’s Hambro Cup team left him as the only golfer near enough to arrive before the teams had to be officially announced.

His opponents, county golfers, were so startled by facing a beginner that they struggled to gain a narrow victory.

He hopes that his Beaumont team will not need a 24 handicapper during the coming season.

David Batley

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