50-year deal saves Birmingham’s courses10th April, 2012 by Jenny Yu
A councillor at Birmingham City Council has said the authority’s seven municipal golf courses have been saved, after a social enterprise firm was awarded a 50-year contract to manage them.
The decision also means that Kent-based Mytime Active has become the largest operator of pay-and-play golf courses in the United Kingdom.
The company secured the contract after it provided a commitment to invest millions over the next few years to improve facilities, including building new clubhouses at Pype Hayes and Harborne and a new driving range at Hatchford Brook, and the refurbishment of Boldmere’s clubhouse.
Birmingham City Council’s Martin Mullaney said the deal has saved pay-and-play golf in the city. “Two years ago there was a very real fear that one or more of our courses might have to close, but now, with this ground-breaking deal, we have not only safeguarded public golf for future generations, we have transformed a service that was running at a loss into one set for significant investment.
“Mytime Active has exciting plans to increase participation across the seven courses in Birmingham.”
Since Mytime Active was formed in 2004, it has reinvested over £16 million into the 19 golf clubs it now operates. The company also recently purchased Orpington Golf Centre in Kent, a 54-hole golf course and one of the largest golfing facilities in England.
Chief executive Steve Price said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to manage Birmingham’s golf courses, which takes us into poll position as the country’s leading operator of pay-and-play golf.
“In the current economic climate, many local authorities are finding it difficult to keep their golf courses open and well managed, but we have the expertise to run them and as a social enterprise; we are able to reinvest back into the properties so that local people can enjoy the benefits of affordable golf.”