Harris is charged with keeping the putting greens up to par

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Leighton Buzzard golf club’s country-wide search for a new course manager has been successful - with the appointment of an experienced greensman who already lives in the town.

Paul Harris, 38, beat more than 40 other applicants from around the country for the top job heading up a five-strong team keeping the 140-acre Plantation Road estate in trim.

Family man Paul, wife Kelly and children Sam, 4, and 20-week old Leo live at Billington Grove, Sandhills just a mile from the 575-member club which has spent over £250,000 in recent years on new greens, fairways and bunkers.

But despite that expenditure, there’s still a big job to be tackled by Paul and his team as the club completes a project to “polish the diamond”.

The club engaged a Master greensman to help find the top candidate for the job, and says club President David Hawkins: “We were lucky enough to find someone on our own doorstep who has all the qualifications and experience we need. Paul ticked all the right boxes.”

Keen sportsman Paul started his career at the Aylesbury golf centre at Brierton before moving to Magnolia Park and later Aspley Guise golf club, where he worked for five years. After a year at the Sandbury Hall club in York, Paul moved to Aldwickbury Park, Harpenden eight years ago, and for the past two, has been Course Manager there.

Says Paul: “This is very much a dream job; Leighton has great drive and ambition job and a very friendly atmosphere.

“I have inherited a hard-working team and I am very much looking forward to being part of its future for many years to come.”

Paul will work closely with Director of Golf Maurice Campbell, one of the country’s top golfing coaches, and the club management team to further improve the 6,100 yard heathland course.

Favourites Mick Myatt and Sandra Bellis were true to form, winning Leighton’s Mel and Pauline Glover Mixed Greensomes with 34 points, a shot clear of Nigel and Jackie Phelps.

Mike and Sheila Turnock took third place with 31pts, with Stuart and Lynn Oliver a point behind.

Darren Blount had three shots trimmed from his handicap after winning Leighton’s Sunday Turkey Medal with an impressive nett 63, four clear of runner-up Tom Fitzgerald.

Shane Kimber took third place with a nett 68, a shot clear of Voja Savic, George Sadowski , Nick Foster and Stephen Counsell, with David Jones, Scott Douglas, Steve Richardson and Terry Wright heading the rest of the field.

Leighton President David Hawkins had to be content with second place in the Bedfordshire Past Captains Christmas meeting.