Golf club delays reopening due to lockdown damage

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 3, 2021 07:57

An English golf club has delayed the day it will reopen by at least a week to clear up the damage caused by members of the public who used it during the lockdown.

The municipal Belfairs Golf Course in Essex had large groups of people using it between January and March, with one report saying ‘crowds were barbecuing on the greens’.

All golf courses in England were allowed to reopen on March 29 after nearly three months of closure, but Belfairs plans to only open half of its course more than a week later due to the surface being damaged by, for instance, people riding bicycles and playing football at the venue.

Stephen Aylen, independent councillor for the area, said he had never seen crowds like it at the course.

He said: “There are football crowds on Sundays and it’s absolutely packed, I want to see wardens patrolling over there.

Belfairs Golf Course / Southend Golf Club. Image (from 2020) from Facebook

“It’s a great course and there’s no respect at all. People have been riding bikes, playing football and even having barbecues. It’s been completely wrecked and has been as packed as the seafront.”

Kevin Buck, Conservative councillor for Prittlewell said he was disappointed the council hasn’t opened up just half the course.

He said: “It’s losing valuable income and people are going elsewhere. There’s also a danger the longer it’s shut there less likely it is people pay attention to it being a golf course.”

Council bosses say they are working to open it as soon as they can.

Paul Jenkinson, head of parks for Southend Council, said: “We are keen to welcome golfers back to Belfairs Golf Course as soon as possible.

“However, due to the extremely wet winter we endured, along with large numbers of residents walking through and across the golf course while visiting Belfairs to exercise during lockdown, part of the course remains unsuitable for play.

“We are planning on opening half of the course from April 6 to allow some players back to the course, but we must ensure the course is in a suitable condition before bringing people back to the full course.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 3, 2021 07:57
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