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Golfers tee off with the rough and the smooth; LEISURE BOSS DEFENDS FACILITIES AND DENIES IT'S BEING STARVED OF MONEY.

Byline: ARRYN BUGGINS

GOLFERS say standards have slipped at Leaming-ton's municipal golf course - but they believe the Newbold Comyn course still has an edge on similar facilities offered by other towns.

After David Saul claimed in the Evening Telegraph last week that golfers were deserting the site, Warwick District Council's head of leisure, Dale Best, said that Newbold Comyn remained a popular venue and agreed to meet Mr Saul.

Mr Best said: "People have the right to express their views and I want to hear what they have to say. I would ask anyone who has a problem to get in to touch.

"I am prepared to accept that things are not as good as they were two or three years ago, but that is not to say this is not an excellent course. I am very proud of what have at Newbold Comyn."

Mr Best said that not all of the arguments levelled at the council were fair. And he insisted that money was not being diverted from golf to bowling facilities.

"It is not true to say there are dogs marauding around here. I have not seen any here today.

"If you ask the bowlers, they will say they want more money spent on them. Everyone wants more money, but there is only so much to go round and Newbold Comyn is still very well regarded."

Assistant professional Andy Hicks has been at the course for 18 months and played there for five years. He has good and bad comments on the facilities.

He said: "I think the complaints about the dogs were overdone. There are times when dogs pinch the balls and that is annoying, but there are no dogs on the loose.

"This is a marvellous course. It has nine hilly and nine flat holes so there is variety.

"The greens have seen a bit of a drop in standards and the course could do with more drainage, but other than that is a good course.

"It is almost up to the standards of holding a professional match, not quite, but almost there."

Golfers say there is a lack of facilities, mainly pointing to the lack of showers, but work starts soon on new showers and they should be working next year.

Simon Biggs, aged 26, has been playing at Newbold Comyn two or three times a week for three years.

He said: "I have been to other courses and I am happy to play here still. The standards have changed a bit and they need to do the raking more regularly.

"I am looking forward to having a season ticket which should save a bit of money. I come here because my friends come here, and this is a good course."

He said one problem is the etiquette of players, with the way some dress and behave and avoids those who play in shorts and trainers, by going there at 7am, but he feels the pounds 11.75 course fee, which takes more than four hours to get round, offers value.

CAPTION(S):

OPPOSING VIEWS: Golfer David Saul (left) and Warwick District Council's parks and leisure boss Dale Best; AN EXPERT'S VIEW: Assistant professional Andy Hicks has good and bad comments to make about the golf course. Pictures: MARK RADFORD
COPYRIGHT 2001 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 4, 2001
Words:545
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