Stony Holme Golf course revival praised

Phil Colemanin Golf

Golf fans in Carlisle have welcomed the news the city's much-loved council-owned Stony Holme course has been saved.

There were fears the course would be left to go to rack and ruin after operator Mack Golf ceased trading and entered into voluntary administration. But Carlisle City Council vowed to get the right professional help to keep the course viable.

A new operator has stepped forward - Jim Douglas, who previously managed the facility for 20 years. He has vowed to bring the course and the neighbouring Swifts Driving Range back to life.

Former head greenkeeper Robin Little, who will act as an advisor to help get the course back on its feet, said: "This is great news for the club and good news for Carlisle, because it means the city has a site for grass roots golfers again. I wish Jim all the best.

"He is the right man for the job. It's all about providing affordable golf that 's accessible for everybody."

Stony Holme captain Mark Thompson played a key part in highlighting the danger to the course after its sudden closure five months ago.

For a time, parts of the course fell into disrepair, with flood debris left where it settled, and the turf grass disease fusarium affecting some greens.

That was brought under control after Carlisle City Council hired a specialist firm. "Everything now seems to be quite positive," said Mark.

The maintenance commissioned by the city council has meant the course will be back in action far more quickly than would otherwise have been the case, he said.

"People have obviously been waiting to see what would happen but hopefully they will come back. The message is that this golf course will get up and running again so people should use it. We can take back the course from the dog walkers and the mountain bikers."

Mr Douglas warned last week that there is a tremendous amount of work needed to re-establish the course and clubhouse, but he was confident it will happen quickly. He thanked Carlisle City Council, grounds staff, reception staff, the golf club and its members.

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