Health and safety ‘could close club’3rd January, 2014 by Tania Longmire
The manager of a Durham golf club has stated that concerns about health and safety from its owner could lead to the venue closing down.
Oakleaf Golf Complex is owned by Great Aycliffe Town Council, which is relocating the 17th tee, which is located close to the club’s driving range. This follows a member asking if the driving range fence could be raised over fears of balls hitting golfers – an idea that was rejected due to the costs involved.
Bob Oliver, secretary and treasurer of the club, said the council was using this health and safety change to mask its real agenda – to build a pitch and putt area by the driving range which, he said, would be more dangerous than the current layout and would be financially a “disaster” for the club.
The work, he said, would involve removing the 16th hole and splitting the first hole into two, to maintain the 18 holes the club has. The pitch and putt area would be where the 16th hole currently lies.
He added that there were no recorded incidents of golfers being hit by driving range balls in the area under discussion.
“Councillor Fleming [leader of the town council] has constantly put forward his beliefs that a small pitch and putt area could be put in that area to attract juniors,” said Mr Oliver.
“However I have always believed this would be a disaster financially, and, with the balls coming over the fence, it would be a serious health hazard.
“People are not happy. I honestly believe the course could fold if this goes ahead.”
Councillor Fleming responded that no other work bar what has been stated will take place. However, he added that if changes did take place in the future, the club’s membership would be consulted.
“No other changes are being introduced at the moment but this is not to say changes won’t come about in the future,” he said. “If they do, the golf section will be consulted.”