Course Record 60 At Age 59!
Richard Norton breaks course record at Beverley – here’s how it happened...
My round on Saturday nearly didn’t happen because when I arrived it was raining. Four of us were going to just play 13 holes as a fourball and then have a drink and then watch the rugby, but because there were five of us we changed our plans.
As a result, I played with my usual partner, Jim Clark, in a 2-ball. Jim had already paid and then the rain eased off so we decided to play.
I started nicely with a birdie at the first and then on the 3rd I hit a 3-wood off the tee as I didn’t think that would reach the gorse on the left and then hit another 3-wood onto the green to 15 foot and holed the putt for a 3.
I then birdied the 6th and 9th to be out in 29 shots. It was at that point that I realised that a good score was on the cards; but when I failed to birdie any of the next three holes it was going to be hard, if not impossible, to reach the magic 59.
By now Jim was struggling and we were looking for his ball which strangely enough helped to divert my concentration.
I birdied the 13th and missed a putt from 8-feet on the 14th, so I knew my chances of a 59 had gone.
However, undaunted I finished strongly, birdying the 15th, 17th and 18th for a final score of 60.
For some reason I never thought of the course record and stayed relaxed and just kept trying to get birdies. I have been far more nervous when just a couple under but for some reason I wasn’t on Saturday.
I had a lesson the week before which has helped me because I have had a poor season and didn’t qualify for the England team.
I hit my wedges close to the hole most of the time on Saturday and that is why I achieved a good score, although at 59-years-old I didn’t think I had a course record in me any more!
I have been a member of Beverley golf club since I was 12-years-old (no matter what the records say) and I started playing because my mum and dad were members.
At age 16 I became the assistant to Nigel Bundy at Beverley and then when he left I went to Springhead Park under Barry Herrington for six months. I then decided to give up being a professional mainly because I was sick of going to work every Saturday and Sunday at 6am.
I didn’t have the dedication to practice enough and would rather be out with my friends. I was still a Beverley member but I couldn’t play in board competitions because I was waiting to receive my amateur status back.
When my kids left home and I changed jobs, I had some lessons, practised quite a lot and suddenly at the age of about 47 my handicap started coming down. A lot of this was with the blessing of my partner Debra and this made the biggest difference.
I then changed to part-time work in 2018 and played for the England Senior team in 2018 and 2019, winning the European Senior Team Championship in Denmark in 2019.
Covid has severely impacted golf in 2020 and 2021 and because I haven’t played well this year in the six weeks leading up to the qualifying period for the England team, I didn’t make the team and there was nothing in 2020 due to the Covid restrictions.
I still play for the Yorkshire senior team and was part of the team that won the English county finals in 2019 and have won four English Senior counting Order of Merit competitions in 2018 and 2019.
Although it is great to play good golf courses on my travels, Beverley golf club is still home to me and despite the distractions (cows, dogs, picnics, toy cars and planes etc) I always look forward to a game at Beverley’s fantastic course with my friends.
I have been a member for nearly 50 years and still try to represent my club in scratch league and Yorkshire team championships. I would recommend Beverley & East Riding Golf Club to anyone, whether they are a beginner or just want to improve their game. Just call 01482 868757 (option 2) now and speak to Paul, Theo or Natalie.
(Editor’s Note: You’re allowed a plug after a
round like that Rich!)