Golf course designer teed off at state of St Albans Abbey View course

Jimmy Thomson who designed the Abbey View golf course is unhappy with the current conditions of the

Jimmy Thomson who designed the Abbey View golf course is unhappy with the current conditions of the course - Credit: Archant

A GOLF pro who designed a St Albans course over three decades ago is teed off that the district council has let it go to rack and ruin.

In 1990, when Jimmy Thomson, 68, of Kimpton, was the golf professional at Batchwood golf course he designed and ran the Abbey View golf course on behalf of St Albans district council.

The aim of the shorter nine-hole course was to introduce non-golfers to the game whilst helping them learn about the sport’s etiquette on a facility which was less intimidating than larger ones.

Created at a time when golf was booming, its slogan was: “If you are useless you are welcome... if you are any good, go somewhere else.”

Jimmy said: “It was a resounding success. In the first year 35,000 rounds were played and many people had their introduction to golf via this facility.”

He left Abbey View in 1994 and has only recently returned to the course, after an absence of 20 years, to teach a friend how to play golf.

Jimmy said: “I was saddened with what I encountered.

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“The teeing-off mats were in a dreadful state, bunkers un-raked, divots not replaced and hole information markers in a shoddy state.

“On my two visits to the course there was a player chipping six balls on to the eighth green, two teenagers with one club each playing without paying a fee, four players sharing one golf bag and two young men starting from the second hole to avoid payment.

“I was appalled. When Abbey View was opened it was to teach newcomers to the game the correct manner in which to play.

“Now it appears to be a free-for-all with little or no reference to the original concept.”

Calling upon the council to invest more in Abbey View, Jimmy warned that players would be put off by the shoddy state of the course and go elsewhere.

He added: “It looks how one used to expect council to run things in the old days.”

A spokeswoman for Leisure Connection, which manages the course on behalf of the council, said that investment is planned to ensure everything at the site is fit for purpose.

“We are embarking on an improvement plan that aims to continue to improve and develop the course over the next three years.”

She said staff carried out two-hourly ticket checks and golf course inspections to ensure that course etiquette was upheld. 12,000 players used Abbey View last year, she added.