West Midlands Round-up: Thief targeting golf clubs

Courses and Travel

Our round-up of the latest club news from the West Midlands

As many as 10 golf club shops across the West Midlands are thought to have been targeted by a ‘smooth-talking’ thief.

Staff at Penn released the above image of the man who they believe to be responsible for the thefts, and since then the club has been contacted by a number of other alleged victims.

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The Express & Star also reported how the criminal narrowly-avoided being captured by police in a scene described as being ‘like a movie’.

Shop owner Phil Toomer said: “We knew the thieves were coming as a staff member at Wrekin had phoned us to let us know that the men had visited their shop and was on the way to us.”
‘It was like a movie’ Toomer explained how a silver Peugeot 107 pulled onto the car park and he went inside to call the police.

He added: “Owen, the driving range pro, tried to tackle the guy but he managed to get into his accomplices’ car that was waiting at the top of the driveway.

“The police drove around the corner literally 10 seconds later and pulled into the driveway as they didn’t know what ad happened. It was rather unfortunate they weren’t caught.”

During his visits to pro shops, the alleged thief has been characterised by the black coat which he has draped over his arm.

Galvin Green coats are the item of choice for the thief, with five jackets worth more than £1,000 being taken from Sandwell Park.

Tewkesbury Park adds course experts to team

Rory McIlroy’s course expert is advising Tewkesbury Park on how to improve the course.

John Clarkin, who lives in the south of France, has made a flying visit to the club to get a grip on some of the work that needs to take place.

The 43-year-old told the Gloucestershire Echo: “Course condition is the most important thing.

“Seventy-five per cent of players will return to a course if it’s in good condition. That is far more important than the design.

“I want to playing golf here to be a pleasurable experience.”

Clarkin will work closely with one-time leading amateur golfer and golf consultant Peter McEvoy, who lives in Tewkesbury.

The pair have known each other since 1994 and Clarkin said he plans to visit the club “a few times a year”.

Course managing director Chris Mackintosh said that it is time the course benefited from the latest technology and expertise.

Clarkin looks after the private facilities for Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and also prepares courses for the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup and US Open.

Golfer rescued after embarkment fall

A golfer taking part in a competition with his wife at Copt Heath suffered head injuries after falling down a 35ft embankment.

The man narrowly avoided falling into a water hazard at the base of the bank.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “The man was assessed and found to have sustained a nasty head injury, lacerations to his face and a black eye. While the man was being administered pain relief and first aid, ambulance staff had to hold on to the man to prevent him from slipping into the lake.”

Once the man was stabilised, he was placed on a stretcher and carried to safety, before being taken to hospital for treatment.

Belfry drives forward with new Club Car Fleet

The Belfry has taken delivery of 80 state-of-the-art Precedent i3 golfing buggies.

The Club Car vehicles include an in-built GPS system, providing accurate yardages for each shot, a full flyover of the hole as you move to the next tee, and an interactive touch screen that allows golfers to keep updated with live leaderboards or order food and drink wherever they are on the course.

Director of golf Ian Knox said: “We are delighted to have extended our partnership with Club Car. The new fleet certainly delivers the next level of experience for guests on any of our three courses and provides advanced monitoring systems to help ensure everything runs smoothly.”

Morris wins Leominster stableford

Ben Morris was the winner of Leominster’s Hopbine Running Stableford.

Morris scored 41 points for the best card to land the trophy in a competition that attracted over 100 entrants.

The lowest gross 18-hole score was Simon Morgan’s 74.

Elite referee visits Branston

World Majors golf referee Kevin Feeney entertained more than 70 members and staff when he visited Branston recently.

Feeney, who is also senior European tournament director at the Professional Golfers’ Association of GB&I, has refereed 14 Majors and four Ryder Cups throughout his long career.

The Elite Golf Rules official lives in Derby and said: “Branston is among the Midlands’ finest with an enviable reputation for the quality of its course, facilities and friendliness of staff and members.”

Club managing director Ben Laing said: “As well as enlightening many of us on the subtlety of golf rules, Kevin entertained with tales of his life on tour and amusing encounters with the world’s top players, including Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.”

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