Golf club's anger at vandalism
A PRESTIGIOUS Suffolk golf club has voiced its anger at a series of attacks which have left some putting greens damaged.Police believe youngsters could be to blame after Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, in Fornham All Saints, was targeted in a string of incidents in the last few months.
A PRESTIGIOUS Suffolk golf club has voiced its anger at a series of attacks which have left some putting greens damaged.
Police believe youngsters could be to blame after Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, in Fornham All Saints, was targeted in a string of incidents in the last few months.
The club's putting greens on the Tut Hill course have been the worst affected and general manager John Taylor said they have would have to spend up to £10,000 in the next year to repair them.
He said: "For greenkeepers, the course is their pride and joy and it has been a bit soul destroying for them.
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"The putting greens have been cultivated over many years but vandals are damaging them by either bashing objects, like bars, into the course or by hitting shots from the green.
"It is happening almost nightly and now when our staff come in, the first thing they look for is what damage has been."
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Mr Taylor said members are not being too disrupted because most of the damage could be repaired quickly but the greens could take more than 12 months to completely fix.
He explained: "We are currently taking a whole piece of grass out and putting a new section in. But to bed down the grass, firm it up and for the root structure to come in, this could take at least a year."
Mr Taylor said they believed the damage was being caused by youngsters entering from the adjacent Howards Estate who cut the perimeter fence.
He added: "We are improving the fencing but if youngsters suddenly appear on the course, there is a major safety issue involved.
"A golf ball can travel up to 100mph and if a youngster if hit in the head, they will know about it and they could be in considerable danger.
"I am disappointed youngsters are doing this kind of thing as it is not achieving anything, it is just destroying other people's enjoyment."
In the last two months, damage has also been caused to the sprinklers while graffiti has been daubed in the women's toilet and flag posts set alight.
Mr Taylor said most of the incidents have taken place after 8pm and members have seen youths entering the site.
He revealed: "I personally have seen youngsters hacking away at bushes and members have also seen them on the course.
"Members have been very supportive but there will obviously be a cost impact for them. All these repairs will probably have to come from an increase in membership fees."
Pc Graham How confirmed they were linking the incidents saying: "Police believe youngsters may be responsible for the criminal damage on the course and we can assure the public we are treating the incidents extremely seriously.
"Offenders, if prosecuted, could find themselves with a criminal record and we would advise parents who have children in the area to tell them the golf course is not a playground."
Police and crime reduction officers are now working with the club giving them increased security advice to prevent further attack on the premises.
The 150-acre, course, used by both members and the public for nine-hole and 18-hole play, is regarded as one of the finest in Suffolk and the club currently boasts a full membership.
Anyone with information relating to these incidents should contact Pc How on 01284 774100.