Terrorised at the golf club
Players in fear of knife-wielding youths
LOOKING down the verdant fairway as you tee off, playing a leisurely round of golf is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Of course, players must be wary of the bunkers and ponds dotted along the green, where a wayward ball may get stuck.
But for golfers on one course, there are hazards of a far more serious type, driving them – and even the staff – away.
Regulars at Castle Point Golf Course in Essex have been terrorised by a series of incidents including threats by youths with knives and metal poles.
Quad bikes and motorcycles have also been driven on to the course, churning up the fairways and greens, and workers have been threatened.
The clubhouse has now been closed and a note in the window warns visitors to play ‘at your own risk’. And furious golfers have accused Essex Police of leaving them ‘vulnerable’ after the force failed to act.
Barry Huntley, 59, of Canvey Island, said: ‘It’s just not bloody good enough. We are quite vulnerable when we are out there playing a round. Any one person on their own could have a confrontation with not just one guy but several youths. You get the older players – what chance would they have? They just wouldn’t have a chance.
‘Police say they have priorities but surely if staff are being threatened – and quite serious threats – then they need to act.’
A golfer was attacked last Thursday, he added, but he was ‘able to handle himself as he’s a judo expert’. And anti- social problems included staff being ‘threatened quite seriously’.
An elderly regular revealed a friend had a knife pulled on him earlier this year. ‘He was on the tee. They were giving it a bit of abuse so he went after them to sort it out,’ he said. ‘One of them pulled a knife but the chap did not back down so they ran off.’
Retired BT engineer Dave White said: ‘You get the teenagers on the quad bikes roughing up the greens.’ The spike in incidents at the 18-hole course is the latest example of criminals being allowed to rule the roost in Wild West Britain.
Eighteen incidents have been reported to police since January last year, including nine this year alone. Only two arrests have been made and no one has been charged.
The closure of the clubhouse means players are no longer able to relax at the bar after a round. The absence of staff also means there is no one to collect the £20 course fee.
A notice outside states: ‘Feel free to continue to play golf at Castle Point if you wish to do so. We do advise that this is done so at your own risk.’
A spokesman for the course said: ‘ Glendale Golf, which leases the course from Castle Point Council, said Essex Police had told them the force could not tackle the problem due to not having enough resources.’
A Glendale Golf spokesman explained police had been contacted ‘but the responses have been sadly lacking in action’.
Essex Police has shed more than 400 officers and closed police stations to make cuts of around £70million since 2010.
A police spokesman said: ‘We understand these incidents do have an impact. Unfortunately, there have been limited investigative opportunities to identify suspects. We prioritise our patrols based on where there is the greatest threat.’
On the course: Golfers Dave White (right) and Paul Estlea