Golf still a thrill for Duflou
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.
Judgeford club captain Ben Duflou is optimistic about the rest of his team’s Otaki Cup season.