Long-time Hilton Park greenkeeper Stuart Neil says he is disgusted by the vandalism that took place this morning at the Milngavie venue.
Neil, who has worked at the club for 34 years, cremated his father on Monday. He had been in Erskine Hospice with dementia but sadly passed away from COVID-19.
The first thing Neil saw on his return to work was the damage to the fourth green on the club’s Hilton course, where someone performed 'doughnuts' around the green in a car having broken through an access gate to get to the course.
“I came back to work thinking that I was going to get stuck in and try and get over this and that’s the first thing I see,” Neil told bunkered.co.uk. “I mean, mindless people. Unbelievable.
“It definitely happened this morning as there was no dew on the tracks. I had to delete the first message I posted on Twitter as I was so angry. The damage can be fixed. I fertilised the greens on Saturday, so we’ll get them recovered. It’s not a re-turfing job. It’s the gate that is the problem, as I can’t spend four hours in a queue at B&Q.
"Whoever it was, they have made a proper attempt to get in.”
20th May— HiltonPark Golf Club (@hiltonparkgolf) May 20, 2020
Stuart Neil pic.twitter.com/8Auy9s3xPP
The incident is particularly tough for Neil considering his current circumstances. He said the respect shown by those on Monday to his late father followed by this incident has been hard to take.
“Erskine’s contribution to my father’s life was incredible,” he said. “They did a wee tour through the grounds on Monday to say cheerio, and there were 30 or 40 of them outside clapping him. That really destroyed me – and then you come in to see this and people who have no respect for life. It’s one of those things, I guess."
In addition to the vandalism, old furniture has been dumped by the 11th hole, whilst club property was stolen from the car park.
“They were eventually caught thanks to a passing ex-policeman,” said Neil. “There are some real scumbags out there who have no respect for anything. It’s hard. My emotions are all over the place.
"Our game wouldn’t harm anyone, but there’s still this attitude that ‘we’ll do what we like to your golf course’. What goes on in their heads? It’s hard times for everybody and we don’t need to make it harder with things like this.”