Golf course could be altered

A POPULAR golf course could be altered to ensure that members of the public are not put at risk from flying golf balls.Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club has applied to Suffolk Coastal District Council for planning permission to realign three holes on the Martello Course close to a footpath used by thousands of walkers.

A POPULAR golf course could be altered to ensure that members of the public are not put at risk from flying golf balls.

Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club has applied to Suffolk Coastal District Council for planning permission to realign three holes on the Martello Course close to a footpath used by thousands of walkers.

The club has been carrying out risk assessments and Richard Tibbs, manager, said yesterday it was "extremely concerned" about the possible danger for members of the public.

However, Mr Tibbs stressed that the club had not received costings for the proposed project.

He was waiting for tenders to be submitted, and the general committee had not made a final decision on the scheme.

Last year a solicitor, Michael Kent, of Cliff Road, Felixstowe, was struck in the face by a golf ball when he was walking his dog along the sea wall. His glasses were smashed and his left eye was badly bruised.

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Mr Kent, 53, said yesterday a compensation offer had been made and he was considering it.

"One of my worries was that they never took the safety aspect seriously. After I was hit I wrote to them to indicate that I expected to be told of the changes they were going to make and they sent a letter outlining changes to the 15th hole," said Mr Kent.

Mr Kent, who walks daily along the sea wall with his dog, said a new tee was introduced at the 15th hole for male golfers and it was aligned to make them drive inland. But he said the tee was taken out of use recently and golfers reverted to the former position.

Mr Tibbs said the club had already decided to think about moving holes before the incident involving Mr Kent.

The aim was to alter the tees and green of the 15th hole. This would have a knock-on effect on other holes and the club proposed to move the 14th green to a new location and have a new tee for the 16th hole. New bunkers and changes to some fairways were also proposed.

Mr Tibbs said: "This problem has come about in the last 10 to 15 years as Felixstowe has become more and more busy, and there are more people out walking.

"They have a right to enjoy the sea wall and lie on the beach and we are doing our level best so that they can do so.

"The proposed changes will increase the safety of the public walking by the golf course and enhance the golf course.''

The golf course is 122 years old and was recently praised for being one of the most ecologically attractive in the UK by the Sports Turf Research Institute, a commercial organisation which advises clubs on the care and maintenance of courses.

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