Perfect round for the happy couple

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IT was a round to remember for Ivana Palova as she made it to the 18th green at Abbey Hill golf course.

Along with boyfriend Lee Jones, the pair were playing their regular Wednesday afternoon round of golf, but on arriving at the final green, things were a little different.

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The usual Abbey Hill flag had been replaced with a with a personalised design, with ‘Will you marry me?’ embroidered in her native Slovakian and instead of offering to take the pin out to putt, Lee was down on one knee to propose.

After saying ‘yes’, friends and family emerged from behind nearby trees and bushes to congratulate the happy couple, with celebrations swiftly moving from the 18th into the 19th hole.

Lee from Deanshanger said: “Ivana’s mother and sister were over for two weeks on holiday, so I wanted to surprise the three of them with the proposal.

“My soon-to-be mother-in-law doesn’t speak English, so I had the flag written in Slovakian so she would understand what was going on too.

“It was an unbelievable feeling to play the last hole knowing there were so many friends and family watching nearby, but only I knew.

“I actually played well on the day and hit the best shot of my round on my approach to the last green – my playing partner and I had just beaten Ivana and hers, so I had to make up for that somehow.”

Staff at Abbey Hill were in on Lee’s plans, swapping the regular 18th flag for his personalised one and playing the couple’s favourite song, John Denver – Annie’s Song, from the clubhouse as he took a knee to pop the question.

Lee added: “I let Abbey Hill staff know what was happening a couple of weeks beforehand. They have been very helpful and kindly presented us with a nice bottle of bubbly for the celebrations.”

Keen golfers, the husband and wife-to-be play two or three times a week off handicaps of 14 and 23 respectively and despite no plans set in stone, are considering a wedding at the golf venue.

Lee concluded: “I’d quite like to see Ivana try to play in her wedding dress.”

Gordon Forster, Abbey Hill Golf Centre General Manager, said: “On behalf of everybody at Abbey Hill, I warmly congratulate Ivana and Lee and wish them all the very best for the future.

“As we had some inside knowledge of the proposal, we’ve already spoken to Lee to discuss Abbey Hill’s extensive facilities as experience as a wedding venue.”