Belfairs Golf Club in Essex had to temporarily close its 18-hole course earlier this week after a group of quad bikers broke onto the property and caused an estimated £100,000 worth of damage to tees, fairways, greens and bunkers.
The bikers wreaked havoc on the Southend course on the morning of December 10, damaging six greens to such an extent that it made them unplayable and resulted in the course having to be closed while the damage was assessed and repaired by ground staff at the council-owned venue.
Local councillor Stephen Aylen said: “It’s tragic and unacceptable. I went out to have a look. I think there were two quad bikes involved. I blame a lot of this on the council’s administration. Continuous requests have been made to repair the fences to stop bikes getting in, but all we’ve had is excuses, excuses, excuses. Nothing’s been done. Now the golf course has to be closed, resulting in loss of revenue as it’s got to be repaired. It’s so sad. The greens have been ruined. The ground staff work so hard and take pride in their jobs. These people don’t appreciate it. It’s so devastating for them.”
James Courtenay, councillor responsible for community safety and public protection, said: “Disgraceful and pointless vandalism has taken place on a popular local open space and golf course. It’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating that this has resulted in the temporary closure of the course and costly repairs. It’s not fair on everyone else who uses the golf course and respects the facilities.
“As soon as our parks team were notified of the damage, they acted quickly to organise the necessary repairs so the course could be reopened as soon as possible. We have previously invested in protecting the golf course as best we can, however, it is a natural open space with many access points. We want everyone who lives and visits our city to be able to enjoy our public spaces and our leisure facilities.”