‘This is the worst vandalism I’ve ever seen’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 19, 2017 11:52

The owner of a Cambridgeshire golf club has said an attack to 14 of the course’s greens is the worst case of golf vandalism she has ever seen.

The second green

Vivien Saunders OBE, who won the Women’s British Open in 1977 and is chair of the Association of Golf Course Owners as well as owner of Abbotsley Golf Hotel and Country Club, said she thinks a banned weed killer was applied to 14 of the course’s greens, wiping out 12 of them.

The 17th green

“I have suffered the worst case of vandalism ever at a UK golf course,” she said, “apart perhaps from Dunston Hall when the irrigation tank was tampered with.”

Saunders said she thinks the herbicide Casoron G, which was banned in 2010, was used.

The 16th green

“It was applied to 14 greens with a drop spreader, totally wiping out 12 of them,” she said.

“Research shows this weed killer can stay in the ground for five years.

The 15th green

“The estimated cost of re-turfing the greens to get them back into play as soon as possible is over £350,000 with an extra greenkeeping team. Our insurer has conceded that the damage cover is £100,000 per incident. We have loss of earnings cover for two years and some of the cost of the repairs will have to come from that.”

The 13th green

Saunders said other golf clubs should consider switching to an insurer that offers more coverage for course damage.

“Both Bluefin and Linkscover have standard policies with over £200,000 cover for course damage. Marsh also have a standard policy which I haven’t seen,” she said.

The 12th green

“Take it from me – you may need £250,000 cover for damage. I have contacted David Millar at Bluefin and Paul Holmes at Linkscover and suggested to both that they now offer courses the option to pay extra for additional cover – say £500,000 – and call it an Abbotsley clause.”

It’s not yet known who carried out the attack. Saunders said the club has recently been in dispute with some neighbours over a right of way issue.

The 11th green

“Look at the pictures to see what a disaster you could face from neighbours from Hell or even a disgruntled ex-employee,” said Saunders. “It isn’t pretty.”




Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 19, 2017 11:52
Write a comment


  1. Karl Gjertsen July 2, 17:31

    This is so sad. It’s hard to fully appreciate or understand the impact on the golf club and the members. Shame the club didn’t have CCTV.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Darragh Tighe April 20, 23:20

    Regardless of what dispute exists that is criminal damage and you should be calling on your police to perform a full and thorough investigation, you should ensure that they pursue it to the full vigour of the law. Such vandalism could potentally render people unemployed regardless of your business continuity cover. I fear for the employees and their families.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Don't have one April 20, 16:24

    Compensation for the golf clubs is obviously down to their insurance company. If the greens are to be out of action for a long time or the course is closed what about the members who tend to pay annually, I can’t see any club paying compensation to 200 + members.

    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

Join Our Mailing List

Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

To advertise in the magazine or online, contact:

Email marketing@thegolfbusiness.co.uk

Social media