Sefton Or Serco?

It doesn’t take too much thought about where golfers receive the service their taxes should provide.

Above, Bootle Golf Course today in Municipal Sefton Leisure shows privatised Serco Leisure  West Lancashire to be the poor relation. Sefton Council outlines the operating procedures for staff and public alike to ensure compliance with Government guidance on social distancing. “Any failure to adhere to the rules set out in the procedures may result in the withdrawal of the facility to play golf”.

“The procedures are in several parts covering the Green Staff, Golf Shop Staff, Facilities available and the Playing Regulations for golfers. The course will be open to the public from 9am until 7pm. The playing of golf outside these times is not permitted and the police may be called to those caught doing so.

“Golfers should be reminded that green staff have been significantly reduced during the lock down with four staff covering both courses on a week on, week off rota. This has meant that the height of cuts are higher than we would expect at this time of year. We will slowly reduce the heights as we try and get back to normal but staff levels remain limited due to staff shielding. We hope that customers take this into account when playing the course and we will try and get the course back to the normal summer condition as soon as possible”.

There have been over 2,000 rounds played in Bootle since it re-opened on Wednesday, May 20 following lockdown, and Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team is now worried that those still using it for daily walks could be struck by golf balls.

During lockdown, many used the golf courses for their one hour of daily exercise, but they now face the hazard of being hit by stray balls. Mark Shaw Green Sefton Service Manager said “We knew golfers were itching to get out on our popular courses at Bootle and Southport and we are delighted to welcome so many of them back and to be loosening the restrictions they face when they come.

“However, we want to remind those people who quite legitimately used Bootle Golf Course as a place to take their daily exercise sessions under lockdown, that they now risk putting themselves in harm’s way with the danger of being struck by golf balls. This also applies to those people who have taken the suspension of play as an opportunity to fish, unofficially, in our water hazards”.

The Green Sefton team is putting up signs at Bootle Golf Course to remind and warn non-golfers of the hazards, including where a public footpath that crosses the 8th and 11th fairways.

Since Green Sefton announced it had re-opened Bootle Golf Course and Southport Golf Links (picture below) in May, with fees held at 2019/20 levels, business has been brisk.

From this week, players have been able to play in fours, rather than just in pairs or on their own and from Monday, June 15th, snacks and drinks have been available. Other restrictions to ensure players’ and employees’ safety remain in place.

People wanting to play need to book a tee slot, by telephoning Bootle Golf Course on 0151 928 1371 or Southport Links on 01704 535286. Slots are available every ten minutes from 9am to 7pm. More information including details of the current restrictions is available at http://www.sefton.gov.uk/golf.

Sefton Council’s £500,000 plans to improve golf in the borough through the development of driving ranges at Bootle Golf Course and Southport Golf Links, remain in the pipeline although have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.


Unlike Beacon Park Golf Course above, the Sefton plans feature dedicated coaching bays, plans for the new floodlit facilities were developed after a consultation with local residents and golfers, who highlighted the importance of new practice facilities and investment in course infrastructure.

Imagine it, “consultation with local residents and golfers”, the very idea! Sounds like a democratic option denied to West Lancashire golfers by Serco and WLBC!

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