By Connor Humm
Leeds golf clubs are being targeted by thugs, with extensive damage to the playing surfaces.
South Leeds Golf Club in Middleton has been hit by vandals six times in the last two months alone. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Gotts Park Golf course in Armley recently experienced a similar problem which has rendered certain parts of the course unusable.
A police spokesman said: “The damage is caused by people using off road bikes and quads on the course.”
South Leeds club manager Simon Danby said: “To get some of the damage fixed can take months.
“The growing process for the grass to grow back could take anything from three months to a year.
“The recent damage to a few of the greens is quite substantial which isn’t nice for the visitors to turn up and see that. There is also the loss of earnings aspect, the damaged greens mean we have to lower our green fees as well as having to repair the damage and block off walkways.”
South Leeds club member Jennifer Brown told Yorkshire Voice: “I’ve seen the green keepers out there working on keeping the quad bikes out. You can probably see the blockades put in place.
“The problem they have is the sheer size of the course, there is such a large boundary it is made a near impossible task.”
The police believe that the off-road vehicles are gaining access through public footpaths. The walkways are directly connected to the ring road which runs directly through the middle of the course. The club have decided to block off the openings to combat the situation, which looks to have worked so far.
Leeds experienced a steep increase in golf participation at the start of 2017. Leeds Golf Centre said that they had a record 700 new applications for their “Up to scratch” challenge. This includes intensive lessons with people ranging from experienced to brand new players.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.