Rookery Park member honoured to be life member

PUBLISHED: 16:57 10 May 2012

photograph is L to R,  CHRIS SOANES, MIKE REES and HARRY COOK,

photograph is L to R, CHRIS SOANES, MIKE REES and HARRY COOK,


Rookery’s golfing legend, Mike Rees, was put forward by the English Golf Union to take the R & A rules examination.

Just two nominations are put forward by every one of the world’s golfing nations. Rees passed at the highest level and was both a referee and the ‘pace of play’ ref at the last English Amateur Golf Championship, which was held at Woburn.

He has been Suffolk GU president for two years and now captains the Suffolk first team. He is the County chief referee, a member of the tournament panel for EGU referees and was a tutor at the EGU regional rules school.

Despite these high ranking positions he admits that his greatest joy came when he was recently made the fourth honorary life member at Rookery Park.

This honour was not a result of his work outlined above. Although the current lady honorary member, Jean Thompson, was ladies’ captain several times and the two men, Richard Long and David Batley, were, like Mike Rees, past captains and presidents, neither paid employment nor work done in an elected capacity are, alone, what leads to nominations for honorary life membership.

Years of voluntary work, in an unelected capacity, are also required as well. For some years Rees has been chairman of both the competitions and handicaps committees, being a thorn in the flesh of many golfers in his latter position. On many Sunday mornings he has sorted out the cards to determine the prize winners. He attends greens committee meetings, holds rules quiz nights and has helped out in many course projects. He has also captained successful, Stenson, Parks and Thursday league teams, as well as captaining the Hambro team. Mike Rees is a thoroughly deserving addition to Rookery’s honorary life members.

The Cooks’ domination continued when young Harry Cook won the Saturday Stableford, scoring 36 points in high winds and persistent rain. A blob at the second hole was followed by a steady flow of pars.

Chris Soanes recorded a 69 gross for 39 points when winning the Mid-Week Stableford. Four birdies included a chip-in on the fifth hole. He has finished runner-up in the Rushmere Vase for three years in a row. Partnered by Ben Wallis in the Sunningdale Foursomes, and having won in the first round, he faced two young ladies with +4 and +3 handicaps, one being a member of the national Curtis Cup team.

Being scratch golfers, the Rookery pair were looking forward to receiving shots. They were shocked when they realised that, as the ladies had to play off the men’s tees, they actually had to give their opponents eight shots. Still stunned, they lost heavily. Chris Soanes’ father, Richard, had no sympathy for his son. He loses to a lady, his wife June, on a regular basis and, even worse, she insists on playing for who does the week’s washing up. His birthday presents now consist of aprons, pinnies and rubber gloves. That, says dad, is real humiliation.

Members who knew him will be saddened by the death of Derek Gaze, a former member of Pakefield and Rookery. He has passed away in Australia. His warm personality and gentle humour made him a favourite companion, both on and off the golf course. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and condolences are sent to all of his family.

David Batley

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