Grange Park Golf Club manager sets the record straight after criticism of state of course
Richard Townley, from Grange Park, was disturbed by a report in the Advertiser recently containing claims it was blighted by poor maintenance, long grass and shabby greens and fairways.
He stressed that the conditions came immediately after a “perfect storm" of awful weather in March and April which made upkeep of the site next to impossible.
"The course was covered in four inches of snow in March and then it rained nearly every day through April,” he said. "Naturally, it is going to take us longer to deal with the situation due to the climatic conditions.
"I have been here 49 years and have never seen conditions like that. As soon as we could put maintenance machinery on, we did."
The fact Grange Park stands on clay, rather than sand, like many others, meant water holds rather than drains away, exacerbating the problems.
And contrary to claims, Mr Townley said all golfers had been made of the conditions prior to playing.
"No-one would like this place to be absolutely perfect more than me,” he said. “There is nothing we have done to cause or prolong any of this. In actual fact my maintenance lads have worked their fingers to the bone to get this sorted out. I’m not going to say we are 100 per cent there yet, because we still have to strim under the trees, but the place looks a lot better now."
It was a municipal facility before being leased to a private concern, The Grange Golf Club Ltd, in 2005. Personal and pension money amounting to hundreds of thousands has been invested by Mr Townley and his business partner, Steve Gillott.
"I have been here since I was 12 so it means everything to me,” said Mr Townley, who will soon have time to concentrate on repairing the weather-damaged access road.
"This course is way in advance of what we inherited 17 or 18 years ago and this is the first time there has been any complaints.
"I am running this not as a money-making concern but as a facility that maintains a certain pricing level that leaves access to people who probably can’t afford to go and pay a lot more at other courses. We have tried to maintain those principles while trying to improve the facility.
"Contrary to what some may mistakenly think, it is still a good place to play.”