“Without this course at Bay View Park many here probably wouldn’t be into golf.”
So says Clive Winter, golf manager at Bay View Park which opened in 2007, but whose history goes back 20 years. He feels there is an unorthodox story about Bay View which was buried under eight foot of bushes and brambles.
“I’m not trying to sell the golf course,” Winter said, “I’m trying to show that we are here and they are welcome. Most of the time people walk past and say they never knew about us.”
The club sits on the Duke of Devonshire Estate between Sovereign Harbour and Pevensey Bay. The course’s history is connected to the harbour, which celebrates it’s 20th birthday this summer, as the site was a quarry used to produce concrete for the marina.
Once the project was completed, Martello Plant wanted to build a golf course. Winter said, “More than 9,000 specimens of different plants were brought into the area and the greens were plotted out in the early nineties.
“But one day the owner didn’t turn up and workmen could not get hold of him. They contacted his wife who told them he had died suddenly of a heart attack. It must have been left dormant for 17 years. I have been here six years, and when I found the course it had been left to overgrow.”
Taking a stroll around the course, Winter pointed to remains of wild bushes on the edge of the course. It had gone from jungle to golf course.
Once Clive got involved his mammoth task became clear. He said, “We got farmers and land sculptures to cut everything back and find out where the greens were originally made. You could see the golf course beneath it, it gave me an idea of where things were originally planted. It was my job from that to turn it into a golf course.”
After two-and-a-half years of work the nine-hole course was completed but not without hiccups.
“We found a man living in the woods where the car park is now. Once we started working on the course he quickly moved out but left plastic bags of his droppings. We never found out where he went.”
Warmth and friendliness was radiated from Clive who holds the course close to his heart. “The biggest thing about this is to give an opportunity to people who struggle with the basic golf course. 90% of my members are over 60.
“They really struggle with the size of other golf courses and the etiquette. We are not as strict, you can wear jeans and a pair of trainers.”
To get involved or find out more, visit www.bay-view.co.uk or contact Clive Winter on 01323 769384 or at firstname.lastname@example.org