MITCHELL Smith got his reign as captain of Rochford Hundred off to a flying start on Sunday despite heavy overnight snow and ice.

Mitchell arrived for the traditional drive-in alongside vice-captain Dennis Bailey in an open top sports car and dressed in RAF uniform in memory of his granddad, who introduced him to golf in the mid 1970s.

Grandfather Alfred Barford was a member at Enfield Golf Club and was a Lancaster Bomber pilot in the Second World War and awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal, which Mitchell proudly wore at his drive-in.

“I caddied for him and his golfing friends during school holidays,” said Mitchell.

“That taught me to love the game and also helped me learn the etiquette and rules of golf.”

Mitchell, 49, joined Rochford in 1998 and has spent his working life employed in the paper industry, filling various sales and management roles.

He has been married to Tracy for 26 years and they have three sons and a daughter, and have lived in Hockley for 25 years.

Mitchell hit his drive an impressive 195 yards and it took eight spotters a long while to find it in a snowdrift.

A crowd of more than 100 braved the icy conditions and enjoyed a glass of Champagne and a carvery lunch to mark the occasion.

Mitchell is due to preside over an exciting year at Rochford with the club spending around £250,000 on a new state-of-the-art course watering system.

His chosen charity is the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, which works in partnership with Cancer Research UK to beat brain cancer.