UK golf club attacked in bizarre case of mistaken identity

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 14, 2019 12:15

A second UK golf club has had to deal with an animal rights activism attack – in this case to its reputation – in a matter of days, and in both cases the clubs were innocent victims.

A few days ago we reported on Royal North Devon Golf Club, which was vandalised by animal rights activists after a Facebook post about it trapping badgers went viral.

It later emerged that the offending picture in the post was of rubble being deposited during works to the golf course and no badger setts were actually damaged.

Now Launceston Golf Club in Cornwall has received a barrage of online abuse following a news story about a golf club that was set to carry out a cull of several animals that had defecated on its course.

The original news story by ABC News referred to Launceston Golf Club in Tasmania

What many of the social media activists didn’t realise was that the story, covered by ABC News in Australia, was about Launceston Golf Club in Tasmania, which has been granted a permit to cull species that have been ‘causing damage to the golf course’, including ducks, possums, native hens and wallabies.

The two golf clubs have nothing in common bar the same name – but the English club has a much bigger online presence, which is probably why it was wrongly targeted.

“I woke on Saturday morning to be inundated with a storm of messages on Facebook and Twitter accusing us in Cornwall of being murderers and wanting to kill for our elitist sport,” explained Alan Creber, club secretary at Launceston Golf Club in the UK.

However, Launceston Golf Club in Cornwall, England received a significant number of abusive messages on Facebook and Twitter

“To be honest these were the polite comments! One person went back through every post we had made on Facebook over the last few months and posted hateful comments.”

In response to the abuse the club posted this statement on Saturday morning: ‘There have been some very harmful comments posted this morning about our club. But actually the issue that they refer to is at Launceston Golf Club in Tasmania. We have an extremely positive attitude towards the environment and would like to ask those people who have posted both here and on other social media sites to check before posting that they have got the right country let alone the right club. Thank you. Removal of these comments would be appreciated.’

Creber said that while that update did result in several of the abusive posts being removed, including with apologies, it didn’t stop the messages outright and he spent the whole of the weekend and the following Bank Holiday Monday dealing with more harmful messages.

He even received an apology from ABC News, although the article was not updated to advise readers to check which club they were contacting.

“We have a very positive attitude towards managing our course, having worked to virtually eliminate the use of chemicals and recently embarked on our own compost manufacture, we have in the past won awards from England Golf for our policies,” he added.

“We have a very rich animal population on and around our course and we do everything we can to look after them and the environment we care for.

“One of the posts said the actions proposed by Launceston in Tasmania was typical of the arrogant management of golf clubs in not looking after the countryside. I responded saying they were welcome to come and look at what we do and that they should not tar all golf clubs with the same brush.

“This negative side of social media is a concern but we will continue to use it for the benefits we can see. I would advise club officials and managers who use social media as a tool to keep a very tight check on what is being said about them; the three days were bad enough constantly fire fighting posts but could have been even worse had I not been awake early on Saturday!”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 14, 2019 12:15
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1 Comment

  1. djm May 16, 13:04

    The UK based clubs should have no hesitation in collating the hate messages received – esp the ones that threaten people & buildings – & forwarding them to Plod.

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