In this latest report on the ongoing fallout from the landfill scandal, angry and defiant Senior members of the Beacon Park Golf Course (BPGC) have written to the Serco Contract Manager and made public a list of complaints that condemn the Serco management of the once glorious course .
They wrote “Please find attached a copy of a newspaper cutting which highlights the recent success of Beacon Park Seniors Section winning the South West Lancashire Seniors League against much more fashionable and better resourced golf clubs . Please take the time to read and digest its content. It was a credit to the club and the members concerned. It provided a fabulous ending to a competitive and enjoyable golfing season. Unfortunately recent golfing events at Beacon Park have not been as memorable!
“The situation with the machine that mows the fairways is a disgrace. It remained broken for weeks. There are NO excuses possible for this vital and essential piece of equipment to be out of commission for such a lengthy period of time.
“The fairway grass grew to such a height that it was impossible to play golf. Members of the general public were playing 2/3 holes and then walking off the course, demanding their green fees be returned and vowing never to return.
“Club members were losing balls on the fairway and taking 6 hours to play 18 holes. Competition rules had to be changed to allow ‘Pick and Place’ so that members could actually hit their golf balls.
“In an attempt to register a protest, many members refused to play the course. Having played other courses in the area, many members have also vowed to make this their last season golfing at Beacon Park”.
In August 2915 John Nelson Head of WLBC Leisure and Cultural Services wrote “Serco Leisure Operating Limited are responsible for monitoring the contracted works and are responsible to ensure that the finished work provides the new 9 hole facility and that any royalties received are spent on the Beacon Golf Course, including the club house and associated facilities. Serco Leisure Operating Limited is not able to take any of the royalties as a profit or to charge any management fee for the supervision of the contacted works. All the royalties received are to be spent directly on the golf course and associated facilities. So if they aren’t, where are they? Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd?
By chance I received a letter today from the Serco Group Chief Executive Rupert Soames OBE that challenged the complaints I make regularly about the dreadful state of affairs at the BPGC. He is dismissive of complaints of poor investment and claims to have “regularly verti drained and top dressed the course…invested an additional £72,000 in new greens equipment in 2016 and over £80,000 in the clubhouse in 2015, and in August of this year we purchased a new rough mower at a cost of over £12,000”. Many of you will note the largest spend was on the clubhouse while the course itself was decaying into the very poor condition that has angered the Senior golfers.
Mr Soames does agree that “regarding the recent league match the fairway mower did indeed break down in August and we did hire a replacement for a week while it was away for repair, unfortunately the greens team deemed this as unsuitable and it was subsequently returned. The fairway mower has since been repaired and returned to site. This did present some challenges in cutting the fairways and cause a temporary dip in the standard of the course which has since been addressed”.
So, as you have read, there is an admission of less than adequate course standard. That is why some golfers will not renew their memberships, this is their last season of golfing at Beacon Park. But to return to the WLBC statement that “all the royalties received are to be spent directly on the golf course and associated facilities”, that’s bullshit. We will return to the subject again to publish part two of the “Angry Seniors” saga.