by Nikki Lombardi
This month we sit down with Tom Munt, General Manager of St Ives (Hunts) Golf Course to see how they’re planning to celebrate their centenary with the people of St Ives!
Tom, 100 years…tell me how it all started!
The club was formed on 28th February 1923, the actual meeting itself was held in a cafe in the centre of St Ives which is now Greggs, it used to be called the Fountain Cafe. So, on 28th February this year we’re going to be outside Greggs, fully attired as 1923 golfers and we’re going to have a little golf challenge for anyone passing and we’re going to give the people of St Ives 100 Greggs sausage rolls to the first 100 people who come to see us as a celebration (not each!). This is to celebrate that 100 years ago, a small group of men, who met in that building, decided to buy the land at our old location at Westwood Road, and here we are, 100 years later on at a much bigger site and hopefully living up to their ambition.
So what exactly is the golf challenge you’ll be engaging passers-by in?
T: We’re definitely going to have a little putting mat so everyone can have a go and we may have an extra little challenge trying to get you to chip airflow balls into a bucket, it will be really fun for whoever wants to come along and have a go.
We’ll all have to have a go if we want a sausage roll!
T: Yes exactly! We’re also supporting Aurora Fairway School in St Ives as our chosen charity this year, who offer academic and therapeutic provision for students aged 11-16. It’s lovely to be able to raise some money for them and they’re excited to come down and have a go at the challenge with us.
So who thought of this as a way to celebrate?
T: Our Vice Captain this year put two and two together and realised Greggs was the site of the cafe and I thought that a fitting way of remembering the day would be to give away the 100 sausage rolls and to do something nice and visible in silly costumes on the day.
Hopefully you’ll get use out of the costumes again!
T: Yes, well after being in the industry over 20 years and resisting, I’m finally going to buy some plus 4s! We have another event on the 100th day of the year, 10th April, we’re playing a hickory golf challenge here. We’ll be playing golf with our members, with the old wooden golf clubs and you get extra points for turning up in fancy dress. But, everyone will be able to see me in them on 28th February in the Town Centre!
When do the centenary festivities begin?
T: Most of the celebration happens during a 2 week celebration in July where we have most of our key events. We have some member social events, our annual Club Championships, our Centenary Trophy Competitions and we’ve also got a sporting dinner and golf day and even a golf trick shot artist doing a show. In the evening for the dinner we have Tony Jacklin, Open and US Open winner, and one of the first British ‘Super Star’ golfers, he’s going to do a Q&A and chat to the visitors and members, which is really exciting.
How do you end the celebrations?
T: The two weeks finish with our Centenary Ball, black tie with entertainment and fireworks and all the good things on Saturday 26th July, a great way to end the big two weeks of celebrations. Some of those are more internal events but we’re really looking forward to re-connecting more with the town.
So you’re excited to engage more and more with the town again?
T: Yes! After all there was a lovely bit in an article about the initial opening of the club in 1923 where, in the words of the mayor, he announced to the town that they were building a golf course because the obligations on the mayor and council were “…also to do all in their power to promote the general welfare of the town.” Whilst we’re slightly out of town now, we’re hoping the event on 28th February will remind the town that we are still here whilst we’re a ‘members club’, if you want to be part of the club – we would love to welcome you to our new home!
So you are wanting to welcome new members?
T: Yes! Whilst we are a members club, if people want to be a part of the club, this is where we are! We have lots of ways of becoming a member or getting involved, coming to play golf, or learning to play golf and we have some fantastic teaching pros here. We are also very proud of our clubhouse and the events and functions that we hold for any occasion and whether you are a member or not.
How have the membership needs changed
over the years?
T: It’s changed quite dramatically, far more younger people are wanting to join and ladies golfing has taken off and women are wanting to play more, which is fantastic! We’re having so many new ladies joining and wanting to play at weekends so we’re looking to hold more ladies events at the weekend because of the demand which is great!
Sounds like it’s going to be a great celebration for the centenary, we’ll be coming down for a putt and a sausage roll!
T: Please do! Tuesday February 28th, outside Greggs, we can’t wait to see you all there. Come and have a go and join in the celebrations with us all!
For more information about the event and details of timings please follow their social media channels for further updates!