Tuesday, 6th December, 2016

Suffolk’s longest serving Golf Professional retires after 53 years

Story published at 14:18, Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Frank Hill outside his former Professional’s shop at Thorpeness Hotel and Golf Club

Frank Hill outside his former Professional’s shop at Thorpeness Hotel and Golf Club

Suffolk’s longest serving golf professional Frank Hill has retired after a career spanning five decades, six golf clubs and four counties. He played in four Open Championships and on the European Seniors Tour, won national honours and captained the PGA (Professional Golfer’s Association) in two English regions.

Frank, 71, has been Head Professional at Thorpeness Golf Club for the past 20 years. He is the current Captain of the Suffolk PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) and a former Captain of the PGA East Region.

Frank retired last month and said: “I wouldn’t change a thing about my career and time spent at Thorpeness. I’ve met some fantastic people, made good friends and been lucky enough to play golf at some of the best courses.

My only regret would be not holing more putts and perhaps not retiring sooner.”

Frank, who is originally from Derbyshire, started his career as an assistant professional at Sherwood Forest Golf Club before qualifying and taking Head Professional roles at golf clubs in Surrey and East Anglia.

He finally settled on the Suffolk Coast at Thorpeness Golf Club with its James Braid designed heathland course, member’s club and 36-bedroom golfer’s hotel.

In a long and distinguished playing career Frank won five professional events, including The Essex Open, Essex Professional Championship, The East Anglian Open Championship and the PGA Super Seniors Championship in 2006.

Frank’s contribution to Thorpeness Golf Club was recognised at an event held in his honour in September by TA Hotel Collection, owners of the golf course and hotel, at its Dolphin Inn in Thorpeness.

Tim Rowan-Robinson, chairman of TA Hotel Collection, said: “Frank has been a wonderful servant to Thorpeness Golf Club and its members during the two decades he’s spent with us.

He’s done everything, from running the golf shop, taking green fees and coaching new starters to presenting golf tips on the club’s video blog in recent times.

He has worked tirelessly as an ambassador for Thorpeness, helping raise the profile of the course and club and attracting major events including The PGA Super 60’s Championships and English Seniors Golf Championships.

We’d like to express our sincerest gratitude and considerable thanks as well as wishing him a wonderful retirement, where he can spend time on the fairways without temptation to fix his partner’s swing or posture.”

Frank is being succeeded at Thorpeness by Christine Langford, a founder member of The Ladies European Tour and one of the UK’s best known and most successful female golf professionals.

Christine, 58, is the first woman professional in the 93 year history of Thorpeness Golf Club. For the past 18 months, Christine has been running residential golf coaching schools at Thorpeness. She lives in Suffolk, has coached the Suffolk Ladies County Team and knows the area extremely well.

Frank Hill will continue to play a role in golfing life at Thorpeness and will shortly be launching a special golf coaching masterclass for couples in partnership with Christine Langford.

“I’ll stay involved in golf and will keep on playing and hopefully improving, it’s never too late to get better. I’ll be doing some private coaching at Thorpeness and would love to get involved in some golf course design work, it’s something that has always fascinated me,” said Frank.

Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel is part of the TA Hotel Collection

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