The Government’s decision to approve HS2 is “potentially disastrous” for Whittington Heath Golf Club, reports Tamworth Herald. The railway line has been planned to go through the middle of its course, which is considered among the best in the country.
Club captain John Tipper said: “We are very disappointed HS2 is going ahead on the proposed route. The line cuts the course in two, driving track straight through the clubhouse.”
The track is to run down the 9th hole rendering it and the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 10th holes unusable. The 2nd, 8th and 18th holes will also be affected.
Whittington Heath Golf Club, which has 500 full-playing members, celebrated its 125th anniversary last year. It was originally a 9 hole course established by Colonel George Simon for the relaxation of soldiers at Whittington Barracks but in 1927, famous designer Harry Colt was brought in to re-model and extend the course to eighteen holes.
The challenge for Whittington Heath Golf Club now is to secure the best possible result for its members.
“It has unique features,” said Mr Tipper. “It’s almost like an inland links and always poses a challenge. It is easy enough to create golf holes, but it takes years for them to bed down and a lot depends on where we can obtain land. Our intention is to make sure there will be an 18-hole golf course here for many years to come.”
A committee was formed last year to monitor HS2 developments, and meetings have taken place with its representatives. The committee also met Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant.
“We need to meet again as a committee very quickly,” said John. “We must press for compensation to cover the cost of dealing with land purchase and golf course architects. We will need to get prices on these things, and an agreement on what HS2 Ltd are prepared to pay. The future will depend on their attitude and approach.”
In a message on the Club’s website Mr Tipper says: “To borrow from Mark Twain, rumours of the Club’s imminent demise are wildly exaggerated and I’d like to clarify our position. Even if HS2 goes ahead we will ensure that people will be enjoying their golf at Whittington Heath for many more years – with planning, hard work and a bit of luck, in another 125 years future members will be celebrating the Club’s 250th. The Club will continue to operate as normal until construction of the line starts in six or seven years’ time.
Whittington Heath Golf Club www.whittingtonheathgc.co.uk