Ian leaves a lasting legacy after nurturing starlets

DEPARTING: Newton Green coach Ian Woodhead is to step down
DEPARTING: Newton Green coach Ian Woodhead is to step down

A golf coach who has brought national success for young players at Newton Green Golf Club is standing down.

The club’s junior section is now the envy of many, thanks to the inspirational leadership of single handicap golfer Ian Woodhead.

After a decade which has seen youngsters obtain national recognition, he is handing over to a reconstructed junior committee headed by the club’s professional, Tim Cooper.

Paying tribute to Woodhead, retiring club chairman Paddy Lockwood, who will be part of the new junior management set-up, said: “Ian has taken junior golf at Newton to levels never previously dreamed of.

“We are fortunate he gave us 18 months to prepare for his departure, which is typical of the leadership skills he has shown.”

Woodhead will continue managing junior golf with Suffolk and again captain Newton’s senior sides in the county Stearn and Hambro competitions — teams which increasingly feature young, single handicap players he has brought through the club.

Woodhead, who previously captained the club in its centenary year in 2007, said: “In addition to seeing the many special achievements of our young golfers, I have enjoyed all aspects involving coaching, matches and competitions.

“To see all the youngsters improving and enjoying the game has been rewarding enough for all the hours I have put in.”

During his tenure he has seen the club introduce an annual junior open, which has become the biggest in Suffolk, and launch and host the inter-club Aldous Trophy.

On the individual front, Ryan Talbot and Adam Woodhead have represented Suffolk men while still juniors, and schoolgirls Eloise Aldous and Alice Barlow have represented the county ladies, as well as being part of the England Girls’ training squad.

Woodhouse predicts both girls will be down to scratch handicaps by the time they are 18, with Barlow having already won the Suffolk Championship.

n Newton’s chances in county team competitions this summer have been enhanced by the return of Ryan Talbot, who plays off plus one, from the previously successful Hintlesham team.