Barn-Stormer – the best move Tony Dobson made

17:54 16 May 2012

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THE best thing Tony Dobson says he ever did with Stonham Barns Golf Centre was build a nine-hole course.

THE best thing Tony Dobson says he ever did with Stonham Barns Golf Centre was build a nine-hole course.

Tony, 54, who took over at Stonham in 1997, has done much to turn his club into a golfing centre ideal for club players and new players alike.

And while he knows plenty of his members and visitors move onto what he describes as ‘bigger clubs’, after a stint at Stonham, the joy Tony gets out of watching young players in particular develop their game on his course, is something he is proud of.

“Building the nine-hole course was the best thing I ever did,” Tony says.

“When I took over, the club was a bit run down, but when the course got established it made a huge difference.

“My roots are in Sheffield, where I first started playing, and where there were only five or six municipal courses to pay and play. And many were just pitch and putt.

“For me Stonham is neither a pitch and putt, nor a long course. It’s just about right to offer a good little test of golf.”

Indeed, Tony seems to have come across a winning formula, boosted by his very popular under-12 series of competitions.

It was back in 2001 he decided to start holding friendly competitions for eight to 12-year-olds. He’s never looked back.

“I was really surprised how successful we were,” Tony admits.

“But it has just got better. Today we run about eight events a year for under-12s, just a bit of fun, but it’s great.”

There is certainly a sense of warmth about Stonham Barns.

It knows its place in the grand scheme of all things golf, but that doesn’t detract from the fact it is not only popular, but offers the new and experienced golfer a decent test of the game – at an affordable price.

“We have about 100 members and our prices are very competitive,” Tony, who spent 10 years at Waldringfield Golf Club before moving to Stonham, adds.

“I really enjoy working here and I can see myself staying a few more years yet, although with my youngest son Hugo on the EuroPro Tour, maybe I will help caddy for him once in a while.”

An important cog in the Suffolk Academy too, is Tony Dobson, and he has given much to the game in this region.

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