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Rookery Park members called up for Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 13:14 29 February 2012

Mike Penney playing and iron shot by  David Batley

Mike Penney playing and iron shot by David Batley

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Rookery’s Chris Soanes and Ben Wallis have again been selected to represent Suffolk in the Sunningdale Foursomes, a tournament of national importance which attracts some of the country’s best golfers.

In the past it has been won by such golfing legends as Neil Coles, Michael Bonallack and Max Faulkner. Soanes and Wallis played well enough in this tournament last year, their first appearance, to be selected again for this year’s event, to be held on March 13.

When Rookery’s Mike Penney went to be interviewed for a job in insurance he knew that the boss, who would interview him, was a keen golfer.

Penney, himself, had only played occasional rounds on pitch and putt courses. Could he reasonably present himself as a fellow golfer?

After careful consideration he decided to follow the old adage “in for a penny, in for a pound” and convinced the interviewer that he was a ‘real’ golfer. He landed the job but there was a sting in the tail. The next day he was asked to take out an important customer for a round of golf.

Although hitting most of his shots along the ground he managed to keep them straight and as his opponent was a poor 18 handicapper, who had an off-day, he survived the experience with reasonable credibility.

He knew, however, that he must now take golf seriously and he joined Caldecott GC. After giving up rugby and football his golf improved and he won the Past Captains’ Cup.

The strangest experience he had was when his ball struck a sleeper and bounced so high that neither he nor his colleagues could see where it went.

As they stood there, bemused, the ball dropped onto Penney’s head. When he picked himself off the ground, with a sore and aching head, he was still delighted to see that the ball had rebounded to within two feet of the pin.

After holing the putt it dawned on him that, because the ball had “struck his person,” he had incurred a two stroke penalty.

The strange incident has stamped itself so strongly on the memories of those who saw it that the hole is now known as the “Penney Stamp”.

Eventually, the now recovered golfer thought it was time to move to a “more interesting and challenging course”, so he joined Rookery Park.

He has just recorded his first Rookery victory by winning the Sunday Stableford. An ugly six at the eighth hole was compensated for by birdies at the fifth and seventh holes.

He finished with four successive pars and, with a new handicap of seven, he should soon attract the attention of Hambro captain Chris Lay.

Other prizes in the Sunday Stableford went to Mark Elmy, Bob McGill, Paul Perry, Nigel Wigg and Matt Sherlock, who, with four successive prizes, has discovered the clue to being Rookery’s new “nearly man”.

David Batley


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