Golf still a thrill for Du­flou

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Af­ter more than 20 years, the buzz is still there for Ben Du­flou.

Judge­ford Golf Club’s cap­tain is in his 21st year of in­ter­club golf. It’s his sec­ond stint at Judge­ford, af­ter a pe­riod play­ing for Otaki.

Du­flou plays at No 2 or 3 for Judge­ford’s Otaki Cup team who, though bot­tom of the stand­ings, are hold­ing their own against the re­gion’s heavy­weights.

Beat­ing Royal Welling­ton 8-7 at Master­ton on March 14 was a high­light for Du­flou, who recorded an ex­cel­lent 3 and 2 win over Royal’s Ben Slaven in the sin­gles.

It was the first time the club had won a round of di­vi­sion one in­ter­club golf.

The 36-hole for­mat in the top grade, with four­somes played in the morn­ing, had brought the team to­gether, Du­flou said.

‘‘We’re a close-knit team who are happy to catch up with each other away from golf,’’ he said. ‘‘We went over to Wairarapa the night be­fore and had din­ner – it was great.

‘‘This year we’ve had to step up to that next level and we’re do­ing that.

‘‘We had a tough start against Mi­ra­mar [lost 12-3], when most of us played poorly, but we’ve been com­pet­i­tive since.

‘‘ We’re re­al­ists though, and com­pet­ing with the big boys is tough.’’

He said Mike Payne and Ben Cribb were qual­ity play­ers and Judge­ford was lucky to have them.

The other team mem­bers had been ac­cru­ing cru­cial points, Du­flou said, and there was no rea­son Judge­ford couldn’t stay in the top di­vi­sion.

Du­flou said in an ideal world he would be play­ing or prac­tis­ing golf three times a week, but with an ac­coun­tancy busi­ness to run, and four young chil­dren, life of­ten got in the way.

‘‘I’m com­pet­i­tive, so that’s what drives me. The fact no match is the same, with dif­fer­ent cour­ses, hole lo­ca­tions and op­po­nents – that’s the chal­lenge and I love it.’’

Du­flou en­joys the ca­ma­raderie at one of the re­gion’s busiest, but most af­ford­able, golf clubs.

‘‘I love the fact that there is a unique disc draw sys­tem on mem­bers day, so of­ten you’re play­ing with peo­ple you may not have met.

‘‘It’s great fun and says a lot about the sort of club we are.’’

He said the club was in a sound fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, in­ter­club at Judge­ford was well or­gan­ised and the ju­nior com­mit­tee, un­der Dud­ley Asi, was thriv­ing.

‘‘Golf in New Zealand has been strug­gling, but our membership is ris­ing.

‘‘Whitby and Aotea are grow­ing at a phe­nom­e­nal rate and we want to take ad­van­tage of that.

‘‘There’s in­vest­ment go­ing on, with many greens be­ing changed to sand-based and other changes around the course as well.’’

Judge­ford have two more rounds of Otaki Cup left, against Master­ton on April 12, and Manor Park on May 10.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Golf mad:

Judge­ford club cap­tain Ben Du­flou is op­ti­mistic about the rest of his team’s Otaki Cup sea­son.

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