Former Leicester City and Lincoln City defender Grant Brown stages event at Stoke Rochford Golf Club
Former top-flight professional footballers took to the tees at Stoke Rochford Golf Club on Friday for Grant Brown’s inaugural Ambassadors Day.
The former Leicester City and Lincoln City defender became club ambassador at Stoke Rochford last summer and invited a host of friends from the world of sport.
“It was all about getting some old friends and team-mates into Stoke Rochford for a day of friendly, but competitive golf on a great local course, making them aware of the place and hopefully getting them to come back again,” he said.
“As sportsmen, being competitive is in our genes. We can’t play football anymore, but what we can do is find another sport to be competitive in and golf is a great leveller.”
Brown, who is academy manager at the FCV International Football Academy in Stamford, hopes to make it an annual event.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to has been very complimentary, even though a few were caught out by the quick greens,” he added.
“You get well looked after here and the course is fantastic.”
Former footballers to test their mettle on the challenging parkland course included Paul Miller, who played 80 top-flight matches for Wimbledon, and former Notts County goalkeeper Steve Cherry, who made 266 appearances for the Magpies, while ex-Nottinghamshire county cricketer Nigel Illingworth also took to the tees.
The 40-strong field, who took part in a fourball stableford competition, also included Lee Glover who spent seven seasons as a forward at Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest, and made 105 league and cup appearances, including the 1991 FA Cup final.
Lee, who lives near Corby, is a member at Rutland Water Golf Club and was impressed by his first visit to Stoke Rochford.
“I’ve driven past it many times and always been interested to see what it was like,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful setting with very interesting holes and the food and the service was excellent.
“There is a lovely friendly welcome, the bar and clubhouse was immaculate and the overall feel of the place was good.
“Before we left we decided we would have another couple of rounds here this season before October.”
Lee met Grant while in their apprentice days at Forest and Leicester, and teamed up at Grantham Town in the autumn of their playing careers.
A regular golfer and single-figure handicapper, Lee’s team chalked up 81 points, but it fell just short of the top prize.
That went to the quartet of Jeff Purdy, Roger Smith, Ian McParland, and Eddie Malloy who won it with 82 points on countback.
“We struggled a bit with the par threes,” Lee added. “The course was in great nick and the fairways were particularly good.
“The greens are rapid and if you end up above the pin you can have some tricky downhill putts so it’s a good test.”
Despite challenging times for golf clubs up and down the country, with many facing a fight for survival, Stoke Rochford now has a full membership.
However, they remain keen to attract more societies and guests, and to boost their junior and women’s ranks.
And Grant hopes he can continue to play his part in this recruitment.
“I haven’t been able to do as much as I would have liked because of the pandemic, but I’m starting to have more of an involvement and getting down more,” he said.
“I enjoy meeting the members and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as ambassador so far. Hopefully we can go on to bigger and better things in the future.”