A golf course must pay tens of thousands of pounds after it was taken to court following a buggy crash and a string of customer complaints over its food hygiene. An employee sustained head, leg, and back injuries at Gower Golf Course in Swansea while he was driving a faulty buggy that crashed into a ditch.

The golf course and hotel at Cefn Goleu Farm in Gowerton, which has four function rooms for weddings and events, was previously convicted for food hygiene offences from 2011 and 2017. Last week the 18-hole course and its owner Adrian Richards were in court again over the 2022 buggy accident and more food hygiene offences.

Swansea Council, which brought the prosecution, said the brakes failed on the "poorly-maintained" Kawasaki Mule maintenance buggy. Following the crash an engineer found a brake pipe had "substantial chafing damage" and other defects, Swansea Magistrates' Court heard.

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A council spokesman said Richards, 60, also failed to ensure tractors, mowers, buggies, turf maintenance machinery, and chainsaws were being safely maintained. "There was no evidence of a maintenance log for the buggy involved in the crash nor for other equipment," the spokesman added.

The food hygiene offences included failing to ensure there was hot and cold running water for cleaning kitchen equipment, failing to provide washbasins for staff to keep their hands clean, and failing to keep food premises clean. Councillor David Hopkins, cabinet member for corporate services, said customers were "let down" by the "significant disregard for food hygiene standards" which had "resulted in many complaints".

Damaged brakes on golf course buggy
Damaged brakes on golf course buggy

The venue's previous prosecution came after dead flies, out-of-date food, and mould were found in the kitchen in 2017 leading to penalties of £36,000. In the latest court case Gower Golf Course and Richards admitted three health and safety charges as well as four food hygiene offences. The business was ordered to pay £25,070 in fines and costs while Richards must pay a £2,700 fine. Each must also pay a £190 victim services surcharge.

A spokesman for the business told WalesOnline: "The director regrets his part in the offences recorded and consequences affecting other individuals. Major investment has been made in resolving compliance issues and moving forward on a better footing. The kitchen area is now much bigger than the requirement of the business. The faults were found in two kitchens, one of which was not being used for any food production. Two years of Covid closure had starved the business of cash for re-investment although recent expenditure on kitchen resources has approached £10,000.

"The staff at the golf club were all suitably trained for their work but resources were stretched at that peak time of year. There were a lot of food storage and temperature records provided in line with 'Safer Food Better Business' documents at this hot time of year, with the missing information from times when the kitchen was closed. The director is currently in discussion with trading partners to focus on clubhouse activity and enable the business to grow and thrive with new resources."

Cllr Hopkins said Richards "fell well short of legal expectations" in protecting staff, adding: “Most businesses in Swansea comply with health, safety, and other regulations that keep employees, customers, and other people safe. But cases like this should also act as a warning that the council will prosecute where there is evidence that legal standards are not being maintained.”