NUISANCE teenagers who have been making life miserable for members of Hanging Heaton Golf Club have been warned that they are also taking their lives in their hands.
The club, which enjoys panoramic views across the district, overlooks Caulms Wood, which is where most of the vandals get access to the course – a problem the golfers have put up with over many years.
However it has gotten noticeably worse in recent months, with greens dug up and damaged flags, tee markers and bunker rakes broken and stolen, and abuse hurled at anyone challenging the behaviour.
And as club members make parts of the perimeter more secure to keep the yobs out, more and more are getting access via the notorious quarry hole – a 150-yard long, 40ft sheer cliff face which golfers playing the 4th hole at Hanging Heaton have to hit over.
The 2019 Lady Captain, Judith Brooke, said a police officer who attended after one recent incident, was astonished by the dangers the youngsters are putting themselves in.
“It’s a big, vertical drop and anyone slipping and falling, or walking on the unstable quarry top, could literally be dicing with death,” said Judith.
“Our members are sick and fed up of the vandalism and harassment obviously, because it’s completely mindless, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.
“We’re doing whatever we can to make the course perimeter safe and secure but when we try to warn these teenagers that they’re in danger of being hit by flying golf balls, we’re usually met with foul-mouthed abuse.
“But it’s more than that. If they go down that quarry face, they will not be walking home, you can guarantee that.”
Members have considered patrolling the course at night in order to deter or catch the vandals.
“We’re doing all we can because this is a fantastic facility, something these kids should be using positively, instead of mindlessly trying to destroy it and spoil the enjoyment of others.”