Posted: Sun 15th Jul 2012

Fears Stray Golf Balls Could Cause Major Accident On New Wrexham Industrial Estate Link Road for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jul 15th, 2012

The directors of a Wrexham golf club have expressed fears that stray golf balls could cause a major accident on the new Wrexham Industrial Estate link road due to its close proximity to their driving range. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On the eve of the £35m road’s opening, directors at Clays Golf Centre say that safety fears have caused them sleepless nights and have described the situation as “a catastrophic accident waiting to happen”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They also said that despite voicing their concerns to Wrexham Council, they have fallen on deaf ears and warned that their insurers would claim against the authority in the event of an accident. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On average 15-20,000 balls are hit from the course’s driving range every day and directors at Clays fear a wayward ball hitting a car at speed could cause a serious accident. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In Wrexham Council’s environmental statement on the link road dated October 2008 they estimate that the road boundary is 120m from the driving range meaning that stray balls will pose little risk for road users. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

However, in a separate report put together by international golf architect Jonathon Gaunt he states that the actual distance is closer to 90m and warns that a stray golf ball could kill someone. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The picture at the top of the page was taken from the road’s boundary and demonstrates its close proximity to Clay’s driving range. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In addition he notes that the previous landlord of land now being used for the new road has previously written to Clays to confirm that he has recorded over 1000 golf balls in his fields. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Gaunt has criticised the environmental report put together for Wrexham Council by Ken Moodie. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “Mr Moodie seems to dismiss the safety aspect in his report and is not taking into account the wild drives that some golfers are able to hit today, given the remarkable improvements/advancements in technology relating to drivers – even golfers with higher handicaps can hit a drive (tee-shot) in excess of 250 metres.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He goes on to describe “the potential damage that can be done by a stray golf ball, which can not only damage property and persons, but can kill, too.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Clays Director, Steve Williams said: “We instructed WCBC about our misgivings as far back as 2010 but still on the eve of the road opening there has still been no conclusion to this matter. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The problem lies with stray golf balls encroaching the roadway from the driving range and I presented the figures as to how many balls we being hit each day to the council and said to Mr John Youd (project supervisor) ‘this is a catastrophic accident waiting to happen’.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We also prepared a specialist expert report for WCBC by Gaunt Golf Design, which in summarising suggests that there is a severe detrimental safety issue effecting the golf facilities at Clays Golf Centre. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This report was sent via e mail to the council and there legal team dated 8th June 2012. Having had a further meeting with the WCBC legal team on 13th July 2012 they instructed us that the report that we produced for them has yet to be looked at which has given us as directors sleepless nights knowing that the damage a golf ball could do hitting a car travelling at any speed.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Finally our insurance company Bluefin Group have also instructed WCBC that although Clays Golf Club is covered for any accident they would seek the full amount back for any accidents that occur due to errant balls going onto the roadway.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In a statement the insurance company said: “The insurer would fully protect Clays Golf and claim full subrogation against the WCBC and its advisers.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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