Already facing likely closure next spring, this much-loved Gloucestershire course has now been targeted by vandals during England's second lockdown


Cleeve Hill Golf Course Vandalised

2020 has already been testing enough for golf clubs. Now, Cleeve Hill Golf Course, set 1,000ft above Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, has been left reeling once more.

Just a few months ago it was announced that the club’s lease was not being renewed and the course would close on March 31, 2021.

Now, vandals have wreaked havoc by driving on to the course and greens.

People have been playing golf at Cleeve Hill since the late 19th century, with Old Tom Morris the original creator.

It is a landscape of stunning vistas and accommodatingly generous tee-shots.

Ingenious green complexes and the wind are its main defences.

The Old Tom Morris course plays over rugged terrain 1,000ft above Cheltenham (Photo: Dave Cannon/Getty Images)

Greenkeepers discovered the damage over the first weekend in November. English courses had only gone into lockdown-enforced closure again days earlier.

Months to repair

The green on the long downhill par-3 10th has suffered significant damage. It will take months to fully recover as grass growth will be minimal in the off-season, especially at 1,000ft.

“We are all so sad and angry to think people could do this,” the club announced via its Facebook page, with a picture highlighting the 10th green damage.

“We hope it won’t take long to repair, but please bear with us. We will try and do something during lockdown whilst people can’t play golf.”

General manager Joe Vaughan has estimated that repairs are likely to cost somewhere in the region of £3,000 to £5,000.

A number of golf courses have suffered vandalism in recent times, among them the links at Furness in Cumbria, targeted in October.

During the first lockdown, Walton Heath in Surrey, suffered damage to fairways and greens when motorcyclists rode over the course.

The latest bad news comes days after potentially better news for Cleeve Hill. A number of parties have apparently expressed an interest in taking over the lease next year to keep the course alive.

Tewkesbury Borough Council has said it will consider ways for golf to continue on Cleeve Common if a viable solution can be found.

Check out the club’s Facebook page for updates on repair work.

We will keep you posted of any further developments in the Cleeve Hill saga.

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