Locker-room tales drive away golf club officials

LYME REGIS golf club, serenely landscaped above a crumbling Dorset cliff, was trying yesterday to play down months of internecine squabbles leading to resignations, anonymous hate mail and the club captain having his locker filled with rubbish.

Its chairman, Walter Hepworth, 71, has gone, fed up with verbal abuse on the greens from elderly players in Agassi-style forage caps; so has its president Ron Baker, 71 and a member for 57 years, after Harry Austin, captain of the 570-member club, opened his locker door to a cascade of orange peel and drink tins.

The catalyst for the feud was the resiting of the 14th and 15th greens after landslides carried away a public footpath and forced walkers to detour from the 50ft cliff and obstruct the fairways. Dorset County Council bought a swath of club land to rebuild the path. The row that followed was over the realignment of the course.

One faction of the pounds 300-a- year club wanted to reinstate two practice holes, the 2nd and 3rd greens, transferring practice activities to a new field. Rivals said the club should keep the old practice greens and restore a green, the 17th, abandoned 12 years ago.

'And that's where it all tumbled down like a pack of cards,' one member said yesterday. 'As with everything else in a members-only voluntarily-run club, there's always undercurrents of dissent and everything else. The president and chairman resigned because it was getting pretty personal and basically they'd had enough. Then this anonymous letter arrived on the club board along with their resignation letters . . . what it inferred was that both men were incapable of solving the problem. Some members thought the new practice greens, which are 200 yards away across a main road, were less than ideal.'

The old practice greens were in sight of the club house and there was some concern for the safety of the ladies practising there on their own. But the thing that really aggravated it was our beautiful new club house opened only a month ago. During the winter we'd been living in Portakabins which was less than ideal in terms of socialising.

'If only you'd had that nice big new lounge I suspect it wouldn't have gone as far as it did. And, of course, in that sort of environment there's always people in a club who don't actually want to go on committees, but think they can run it better.'

Club members were disinclined to discuss the dispute yesterday. Eventually the club secretary told the Independent to leave.

The outgoing chairman and president, who will be replaced at the annual meeting in October, were equally reticent. 'We don't want to say anything to the papers,' Mr Hepworth said. 'We feel it's an internal affair.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy