Golfers want action to help their club now, before they find themselves in an unplayable lie.
Neil Jennings, the secretary of Ruislip Golf Club, told the Gazette he fears uncertainty over HS2 will kill off the club long before the high speed line is built – if indeed it ever is – alongside the course that sweeps north-west from Ickenham Road, Ruislip, down to the River Pinn.
He said about half the members (about 150 golfers) had left in the past year or so and the junior section that used to boast 40 young players now has six.
“Members are telling us they would rather go now than be faced with a mess in three years,” said Mr Jennings.
“Someone needs to start talking to HS2.”
In fact, someone already has. Mr Jennings and his fellow officials have had exploratory talks with HS2 representatives and more are planned soon. On the agenda is the land required to build the line as it passes the course, the holes that would be lost, the utility channel HS2 wants to cut across several fairways, and what, ultimately, might be in it for the club.
This will not make comfortable reading for opponents of HS2, and his comments are aimed squarely at Hillingdon Council, which owns the 18-hole course but which, according to Mr Jennings, flatly refuses to speak to the rail company.
Hillingdon recently reaffirmed its implacable opposition to HS2 and Mr Jennings says although the golfers are no great fans either, he believes he is being realistic.
“Our objective [if HS2 comes] is to get an 18-hole course back that is the same distance or longer and of a comparable standard,” he said.
“It could benefit everyone if someone does a complete redesign of the course, taking into account what has been lost because of HS2. We are trying to turn a negative, which is HS2, into a long-term positive for the whole community.”
He said he sees the clubhouse and The Fairway pub turned into a top quality leisure facility, perhaps also housing the Ruislip Rifle Club range next door that would be lost to HS2.
With a revamped and challenging 18-hole course, competitive prices and a rejuvenated membership, Ruislip could one day become one of the better courses in the area.
After hearing an explanation of the Hybrid Bill procedure during last week’s HS2 Ruislip Community Forum, Mr Jennings said the club would petition for guarantees at the appropriate stage of the bill’s passage, to ensure agreements with HS2 are honoured.
Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said; “We have been looking at ways of improving both the Uxbridge and Ruislip golf courses.
“But in view of the devastation the proposed HS2 route will cause, we can’t proceed at this time.
“In effect, HS2 will close both courses and residents need to recognise this.”