Hinckley course manager dies on course
The course manager at Hinckley Golf Club in Leicestershire, Douglas ‘Dougie’ Johnstone, has been killed on his own golf course during the atrocious weather at the end of December.
Johnstone, a popular, well-known and well-respected greenkeeper, had been working on storm-damaged trees in the period between Christmas and the New Year, when, it is thought, he was hit by a falling branch.
His body was discovered several hours later by a member of Hinckley Golf Club.
A friend and former club member said: “Those who knew him are very shocked by the news. He was a really great person.
“I understand he went out to work on some trees near the 14th hole on Friday [December 27] and was injured.
“I believe he was on his own and lay out all night.
“His body was discovered on Saturday after a member of the club found all the workshops open.
“Dougie had helped to transform the course, building lakes and improving the layout and the condition of the grass. He will be greatly missed.”
Club chairman David Grimley added: “Since joining the club in 2011 Dougie had become a key member of staff and well respected by both the members and his colleagues at the club. He had been the main reason for the vast improvement of the course condition bringing up to a standard way and above expectations. He bought with him his vast experience at his previous clubs, of which one was Wentworth, and for this we will be forever indebted to him.
“At this point all the members, staff and club officials thoughts are with his wife Sue and his family following this tragic event.”
Former club secretary Alan Millhouse said: “Dougie put his heart and soul into developing the club since he joined us. He used to work all hours, improving the condition of the course and buying new equipment. He had great plans for the future. It is a great shock.”
“Everyone at the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association [BIGGA] is shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Dougie Johnstone,” said a spokesman for BIGGA.
Several members of the club and colleagues in the greenkeeping industry also took to social media to pass on their condolences when they heard the news.
Much of Britain was hit by high winds and heavy rainfall in the final ten days of 2013 – which meant several golf courses were unable to open at the start of 2014.