Off-road bikers cause thousands worth of damage to South Yorkshire golf course

Off-road bikers have terrorised a family-run South Yorkshire golf club, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the course and leaving the owners ‘heartbroken’.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 9:43 am

Frank Houlgate, who owns Waterfront golf course in Wath upon Dearne with his wife Joanne, said nuisance riders have trespassed onto the course on an almost daily basis at times during the last seven weeks to do ‘doughnuts’ on their bikes.

He said: “They were coming in vans and getting their bikes out of the vans.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the course has been targeted by vandals.

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The damage to a putting green on the course.

Frank said: “We’ve had massive problems with the council estate in Bolton upon Dearne.

“Last autumn three greens were damaged so severely they were out of use. If they put a green out of action and we have to have it relaid it costs us 20 grand.”

Since October, around £6000 has been spent on repairs following criminal damage.

Without the resources to employ 24/7 security guards, the club have relied on the generosity of 30 of their 150 members to voluntarily patrol the course at different times of the day in recent weeks.

Frank said it can cost £20,000 to relay a damaged green.

Frank said: “We’re not a big club, it’s just us. It’s make or break for a business like ours, Covid has been bad enough and you get guys like this coming on. It’s an absolute killer.”

At 9pm on Saturday (9 May) one member caught a group of men riding bikes on the course. Despite a chase, they were unable to catch and identify them.

As they rushed to leave, however, the men left behind helmets which have now been sent for DNA testing. South Yorkshire Police’s off-road team have begun regular visits to the club to offer advice and reassurance, and are investigating the incident.

Frank added: “That’s the thing that’s really infuriating, they’re grown men.

The course reopened on Wednesday (13 May).

“They had a lady and a kid with them.”

Despite the damage, the course was able to reopen on Wednesday (13 May), after volunteers helped to fix the greens.

“It was really good, the members were fantastic,” said Frank.

“We didn’t have a spare tee time.”

Riders have been doing 'doughnuts' on the course greens.

South Yorkshire Police said off-road bike team, which has doubled in size in the last month,