Horses wreck pitch and putt course ahead of competition

HORSES have run amok causing extensive damage to one of the country’s top pitch and putt courses just days before a major national competition.

At least three animals ran wild through St Anne’s 18-hole championship course, located next to Our Lady’s Hospital in Shanakiel on Cork’s northside, over the last two nights. It is believed they ran from the Hollyhill area.

They cut up manicured greens on the course which was last year voted the best of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland’s 119 affiliated courses.

Club secretary Frank Dineen said: “It is just sickening to see the brilliant work of our club members, all of whom are volunteers, destroyed like this.”

“We have invested over €100,000 in the course – €40,000 in the greens alone.

“We have doubled our membership and now have almost 250 very active members.”

The club is hosting the biggest competition in the Irish pitch and putt calendar in June 12 and 13, with up to 600 spectators expected to attend.

Experts Gary O’Sullivan, the head green-keeper at Frankfield Golf Course, and who helped prepare the greens at Adare Manor before the Irish Open, was working with green keeping consultant, Ger O’Connor on the preparations.

Mr Dineen said they had the course in “immaculate condition”.

He was joined by other club members yesterday to repair the damage, which included large hoof marks.

Despite the fact that the club spent tens of thousands of euro erected a security fence around most of its perimeter and securing its own entrance, the wild horses can still gain access to the course through the hospital gates.

CSPCA animal inspector, Ted O’Connor, said he had recently received a bizarre report about a horse in foal on the second floor of one of the disused units on the site of the former Our Lady’s Hospital complex.

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