To paraphrase the wretched Edward Heath “There are some in this Borough who fear that in getting into bed with Serco we shall in some way sacrifice independence and our leisure services, including the Beacon Park Golf Course. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified”.
And so the saga of how WLBC Leisure became subservient to Serco Leisure started with the Serco/WLBC agreement in 2004. And the stench surrounding these procurements has just worsened over the years, into dealing with deceitful and corrupt companies given free access to the Beacon Park Golf Course landfill royalty benefit, to them, scheme.
Moving on to 10 February 2011 from then course operator Mark Prosser “Course News. We are right now exploring the viability of making some improvements to the facilities here at Beacon Park. For some time now we have been in discussion with WLBC regarding the development of a new 9 hole Junior Academy par 3 course on the spare land on the site which used to be the old driving range, and that will be one phase in the proposed development. That will provide a fantastic added amenity and provide a superb facility not just for the established golfer for short game practice but also for those new to the game, both young and old, to come and get involved in the game of golf.
“We are also looking to develop our driving range which is currently really just a field by providing a far more attractive facility with raised greens, perimeter mounding and improved targets, so that’s exciting too. This means we can improve the security to the range as well as the safety issues with regard to perimeter fencing, which I believe needs to be addressed”.
“On the course, there are just a couple of areas that need attention: The “first” is a recurring nightmare as at the foot of the hill just in front of the green there is a natural “sump” that constantly holds water. The green also suffers from lack of sunlight as the trees all around have developed. Raising that green will be massively beneficial, not just because we can drain under, but also by bringing it more into the natural sunlight. The green itself is not in the greatest condition after prolonged vandalism, so to have a new purpose built green will be fantastic.
“At the moment as well, the big hitters who get the ball over the brow of the hill often end up on the green as the hill adds extra yards. By levelling this out that “advantage” will be eliminated providing a more equitable situation with everyone required to hit a second into the green. The second tee will be raised and completely rebuilt with additional winter tee and tee options. This work should mean that the quagmire we live with every winter in that area will be eliminated to a distant memory.
“The “sixth” hole is considered by many to be “unfair” as it penalizes a good tee shot due to the severity of the slope from left to right. To provide a level landing zone just makes great sense so we can address this as part of the overall project.
“We will also be looking to remodel the “fifth” slightly. Again being at the bottom of the hill this will help with drainage issues, but we will also enhance the visual impact of the hole and introduce strategic hazards to cause those who wish to “go for the green in one”, to have to consider the “risk”/ “reward” balance.
“The 13th and 14th are just crying out for some remodelling, they are currently pretty bland and again being at the foot of the hill suffer from the torrents of water that flow down to that area. By raising strategically not only can we drain under, but also dramatically improve their visual impact. I envisage a new raised green for the 13th possibly with a little additional length, there is spare land at the back of the green, with sculpting of both fairways. I do not envisage any changes to the 14th green”.
Part 2 of these disclosures will follow. What we are publishing is proof positive that improvements to the Beacon Park Golf Course were genuinely thought to be possible. It all went wrong when corruption took over.