Social media campaign to save golf club14th February, 2012 by Alistair Dunsmuir
A municipal golf club that is set to be closed down by its local council has become the subject of a social media campaign that aims to save it.
Loss-making Oadby Golf Club in Leicestershire, half of which resides in the middle of Leicester Racecourse, is due to close at the end of March, after Oadby and Wigston Borough Council found it was not deemed to be a priority for local residents.
The club is set to cost the council £100,000 for this financial year and Anne Court, director of services at the council, said: “The council had to balance the budget for the coming year and part of that involved making a decision about the golf course. A recent consultation revealed it was consistently the lowest on the list of priorities.”
Three greenkeepers have been offered voluntary redundancy.
There are complications surrounding the closure however, which is giving campaigners hope that the club can be saved.
The club is owned by Leicester Racecourse, which has leased it to the council until 2015, and the local authority now wants to terminate the contract early. If it fails to do this then the council will have to maintain the course for the next three years to ensure it does not become a ‘wilderness’, although it would not be to a golf course standard.
If it is successful in ending the contract then the racecourse has not ruled out investing in the club, which it says could be commercially viable.
Furthermore, former municipal clubs such as Roseberry Grange Community Golf Club have survived despite being earmarked for closure, after the councils let the members own them.
Rich Primrose, secretary of Oadby, said this was a potential solution.
“The club could take it on perhaps,” he said.
“If there are enough club members willing to put into it, that could be an option. It has happened elsewhere.”
With some hope that the council can be saved, Leicestershire & Rutland County Golf Partnership yesterday tweeted: ‘Any rich investors out there want to help save Oadby Golf Club? Plz RT #SaveOadbyGolfClub’. Within a few hours several people and organisations, including Golf Monthly magazine, had retweeted this or sent their own message via social media with the same hashtag. It is believed over 22,000 people have now been informed of Oadby Golf Club’s needs.
The club, which has 168 members, turned over £133,000 last year. Part of its loss was attributed to the £23,000 lease fee that the club is billed annually.