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Cllr Graham Morgan and Cllr Shelley Powell at Bowring Park Golf Course where a sign says: closed.

Disgust as golf course is damaged during lockdown

by Gemma Melling

Significant damage has been caused to a fairway at Bowring Park by the selfish behaviour of one individual, who clearly did not want to wait until after lockdown to use the course.

Council staff were dismayed to discover that, despite the course being closed as part of the current Covid-19 regulations, significant damage was done to the course on Monday, 23 November, when it appears a trespasser entered the course after staff had left and set about practising their swing.

Unfortunately, more practice is obviously needed as this selfish session resulted in numerous clumps being taken out of the turf in several places on the approach to the 15th hole. This damage risked making the course unplayable for those golfers who have respected the rules during lockdown, and who are hoping to enjoy a round once lockdown is eased.

Now local leaders have condemned the actions of this person – and repeated a plea for people to respect this historic course in Knowsley, which has suffered several episodes of vandalism this year whilst being closed in order to prevent the spread of Covid.

Cllr Graham Morgan and Cllr Shelley Powell look at the latest damage caused to Bowring Park Golf Course

Cllr Graham Morgan and Cllr Shelley Powell look at the latest damage caused to Bowring Park Golf Course.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen people coming onto the course to play even though it is closed,” said Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council. “In some cases, we’ve even had groups gathering to play on the course – this has not only caused damage in some cases but is also an obvious breach of social distancing guidelines which are designed to protect us all.

“I know the vast majority of golfers respect the fact that the course is closed, no matter how much they miss playing – and no matter how much they need to improve their swing, as our latest trespasser clearly needs to do. But they have not been so selfish or mindless and have waited patiently for the course to reopen so that they can play safely. It’s absolutely unfair that those individuals who can’t show the same restraint are actually damaging the course for the majority of others.”

This latest damage will be repaired by the council’s expert green keepers, but the fairway will take some time to recover and get back to the usual high standards which make it one of the best maintained courses of its kind in Merseyside. However, the council are determined to do all it can to make sure this selfish individual’s practice session won’t stop the course being ready for re-opening as soon as the Government’s COVID-19 social distancing requirements allow.

In the meantime, they are reviewing CCTV footage of the incident and appealing for information. If anyone knows anything, they are asked to please contact Steve Jones, Parks and Cemetery Manager on 07810 053728.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, also commented: “It’s devastating to see one person putting themselves before everyone else in their community in this way. This golf course means a great deal to those who use it – it’s a chance to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise and recreation – something which is really precious to wellbeing at this time.

“We at Knowsley Council are committed to the safety and welfare of our residents. Our officers work hard to ensure Bowring Park Golf Club is maintained to a really high standard all year round. All we’re asking is for people to respect the rules and just wait a little longer before getting out their clubs – and certainly to think of others and the impact their behaviour has on them in the longer term.”