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UK Golf Courses Are Being Repeatedly Vandalised

By: | Wed 06 Mar 2024

Birmingham's Lickey Hills, one of the most acclaimed public golf courses in England, has once again been targeted by vandals after being struck twice last week. Following an earlier incident towards the end of last year, which saw several greens damaged, seven more surfaces have now been ripped apart by scrambler and electric motorcycles.

Speaking to Bunkered, head greenkeeper Dave Collins commented: "It has a big impact, we only have three full-timers and one part-timer. But we come into work and we’re not sure what we’re going to find this time.

"It’s only been two days in 2024, but every day you’re coming in thinking, ‘are we going to find any more damage’ and luckily you don’t but we still have that fear."

When Golfshake Ambassador Mel Davies played Lickey Hills back in 2021, he said: "Each and every hole provides its own challenge. Bunkering is great and well-maintained and the greens are great. I’m already looking forward to returning."

Unfortunately, Lickey Hills is not the first course to have been in affected in this way - and sadly it won't be the last as these instances have become endemic across the country.

Back in December, quad bikers road onto Belfairs Golf Club in Essex, rendering six greens unplayable, leading to an estimated repair bill that could exceed £100,000.

Burslem Golf Club in Stoke-on-Trent fell victim in October when quad bikers churned up part of the course, which was just the latest episode of vandalism at this particular venue.

Burslem Golf Club

(Image Credit: Stoke-on-Trent Live)

Club secretary David Munro, said: "Burslem Golf Club has been targeted by vandals for years but the damage done this time is irreparable. It has broken my heart and made me feel ready to leave."

Also in October, Enville Golf Club, which is one of the most revered establishments in the Midlands, saw the 13th hole of its Lodges Course targeted by vandals who left the fairway and green ruined. 

Thankfully, superb work from the greenkeepers saw the hole re-open remarkably quickly in the aftermath, but it was a shocking event, with one member reporting that the culprits had smashed a gate and driven over the course.

Such incidents are not confined to England, as north of the border, the nine-hole layout that is part of the Caird Park municipal in Dundee - which had recently been threatened with potential closure by the local authority - was closed in October 2022 after £50,000 worth of greenkeeping equipment was stolen and used to tear apart several holes on the course.

At the time, Golf Dundee released a statement, commenting: "We are so sorry for the disruption this will cause to the hundreds of 9 Hole members who use and enjoy the course but can assure you that we will do whatever we can to re-open the course as soon as possible.

"There is no doubt, however that, due to the total destruction caused in some areas that we will re-open, at some point, with a reduced number of holes."

It's a tragedy for these courses, their regular golfers, and the greenkeepers who work tirelessly to deliver the best possible product. Repeated vandalism is a threat to the ongoing operational status of golf clubs and potentially their longer-term future.

Given the wider financial challenges that exist in the game, this is an added layer of misery that these places can simply do without.

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: GOLFERS Golf Clubs Golf daily picks

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