Investigation into the death of golf club greenkeeper Dave Everett

A family man tragically committed suicide after being fired from a golf club over the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, an inquest has heard.

Greenkeeper Dave Everett spent 33 years at Lyme Regis Golf Club but lost his job after being fired due to ‘serious financial difficulties’ with the club’s costs ‘exceeding revenue’.

A coroner heard Everett’s family say he was “completely broken” when he lost his job at the Timber Hill golf club.

The inquest revealed that he was one of five greenkeepers employed by the club – which was founded in 1893 and described as one of the best in the South West of England – and that he had once been the head greenkeeper.

His widow Julie told the Taunton inquest that the club’s committee members said it was having “serious financial difficulties with costs exceeding income” due to Covid and “needed a radical overhaul to reduce costs”.

She said Mr Everett was being offered a “financial exit” and members mistakenly believed he had taken early retirement.

She said one of the five greenkeepers had to leave and the others had financial obligations with mortgages or children.

Everett, 61, of Chard, offered to work a few hours a week for a base wage, but was told the club couldn’t even afford that.

Madame said, “He wouldn’t leave the place he loved.”

She said he was left in tears when he went back to the club and found that he had spent money when he said he was broke and hired a new member of the greenkeepers team.

She added: “He felt broken. He had worked most of his life at the golf club and it had destroyed him.”

His son Scott said, “He put his heart and soul into Lyme Regis Golf Club.”

He added that he was “loved by everyone, had a fantastic network of friends” and “that job was everything” to him.

Mr Everett was found by hikers one morning in October this year in the woods near the Staple Hill parking lot in Neroche, near Chard.

Somerset’s senior coroner Tony Williams recorded a suicide claim.

‘Respected staff member’

Following the hearing, John Coley, president of Lyme Regis Golf Club, said: “David was a respected member of the green staff who served the club loyally for 33 years, most of which as head greenkeeper.

“During this time he has built a dedicated and reliable team and it is to his credit that two of the team are still with us after 25 years.

“He led a number of major projects: the redesign and construction of the new track layout; installation of the new irrigation system; narrow banding of the worst-draining greens and the renovation of all track bunkers.

“He was well aware of budget constraints, was aware and proactive about costs and built good relationships with various treasurers.”

Manager Arthur Daines added: “His departure was a very difficult decision for the club, given the uncertainties of Covid, and every effort has been made to arrange his departure appropriately.

“Members overwhelmingly elected him an honorary member of the club in recognition of his great service and were all delighted to learn that he had later secured a position with Taunton and Pickeridge GC.

“After that, we were briefly shocked by the news of his sad passing and everyone at the club extends their condolences to his family. The club has lost a wonderful servant and we will recognize him with a permanent memorial on the track.”

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