Business as usual: Burnham & Berrow up and running after fire engulfs course
Somerset and Cornwall’s finest were midway through their second round when they saw the smoke and the unmistakeable flickers of flame across the dunes.
Had the players not been in the midst of their Channel League battle yesterday afternoon, the consequences for Burnham & Berrow don’t bear thinking about.
The Somerset venue, ranked eighth in National Club Golfer’s top 100 courses in England, was hit by a grass blaze that required more than half a dozen engines to bring under control.
But the quick thinking of the players, and the swift response of the fire brigade, meant the course was open for business today without any significant damage.
The fire took out rough ground from the 7th to the 12th holes after being started at a reservoir behind the 13th tee.
But it could have left a much bigger mark on a championship course that has held some of amateur golf’s most prestigious events.
Everyone please be careful in these hot and dry conditions, we wanted to share these videos and photos of what happened on course today to highlight the importance of being careful. It’s a sad day but we are still open for play tomorrow and determined to bounce back! ?? pic.twitter.com/UDgYQn3iSh
— Burnham & Berrow (@BurnhamBerrow) August 5, 2018
“Sunday afternoon can be very quiet,” reflected managing secretary Karen Drake. “Had that been the case then the fire would have really got hold before anybody really responded.
“The fire service were out there very quickly, quite a large crew, and they contained the fire really quite quickly – within about an hour or so.”
Drake paid tribute to the players, who called the fire brigade immediately, as well as the club’s staff.
The shop professionals opened gates to ensure firefighters had swift access to the scene and then toured the course in buggies to evacuate players.
With the fire initially spreading backwards towards the 9th green, greenkeepers went out to irrigate the putting surface in case the blaze reached it.
Staff in the kitchen also stepped in to take water and sandwiches out to those tackling the blaze on a hot day where the temperatures topped 30 degrees.
Drake added: “What was distressing, hearing from the people there at the time, were the animal and wildlife that were escaping.
“We’ve got deer on the course and they almost stampeded to find cover. That was quite emotional.
“The only section [of the course] that has really been damaged is the edge of the 8th tee. We are extremely lucky because we are business as usual today.
“There has been no impact on playing the golf course. We are very thankful that no one got hurt, which is the main thing.”