Rogue rider tears up prized greens

Head greenkeeper Andy O'Hara
Head greenkeeper Andy O'Hara

A MOTORBIKE driving vandal has ripped up greens on two Leven golf courses, with the head greenkeeper of one saying it could take months to recover.

The damage was caused to the putting surfaces on the first and 18th holes at Leven Links Golf Club and the 18th at Scoonie Golf Club.

Andy O’Hara, head greenkeeper at Leven Links has been left disgusted by the incident, he told the Mail: “It (the motorcycle) has basically stopped in the middle and done wheelspin doughnut type turns, ploughing all the greens up. It’s a bad mess they’ve made.

“I think whoever did it have known what they were doing because to get to our 18th green you have got to get on and off by narrow footbridges so they must know that the bridge is there.

“They’ve gone into the middle of the green, probably in twilight or darkness, so they’ve known where the greens were.”

The damage to the greens is extensive with much of the turf dug out by the motorbike’s tyres and Leven Links has had to carry out immediate repairs to make them useable for the 900 members of Leven Golfing Society and Leven Thistle Golf Club, who both play on the course.

Mr O’Hara continued: “We’ve over seeded the greens and top-dressed them but now we have got to really hope that the strength of the roots in the ground is going to recover so we have got the indigenous grasses coming through rather than a different type of grass.

“The grass seed and soil that we put down is not a massive cost but it’s more the inconvenience to people playing golf.

“It’s going to be a nuisance for weeks or maybe months until the surface hopefully recovers. We will probably have to GUR (ground under repair) these areas and people will have to take lifts and drops so it’s infuriating for the people playing golf and soul destroying for us.”

Mr O’Hara has ruled out fencing off the course despite this being the second time it has been attacked in the space of a month.

The green of the fourth hole was similarly ripped up just before the Champion of Champions tournament held on the weekend of April 7 and although it has been repaired, as much as possible, it remains in a poorer state than the rest of the course.

Mr O’Hara added: “We would like to appeal to whoever is doing it to stop. If anybody has any information then get in touch with us or the police.

“Fencing the place off is not what we’d like to do. It would cost us a fortune and take away the natural beauty of the place.”

Local Community Inspector Donald Jenks said: “It is particularly disappointing that the hard work by the green-keeping staff at the courses to prepare them for the golfing season has been spoiled by the actions of one individual.

“Additional patrols will be operating in the area to deter further offences and gather information that will help identify those responsible.”