Mystery surrounds Weald Park closure9th October, 2012 by Emma Williams
A prestigious Essex golf club has closed suddenly and temporarily following what it describes as an ‘incident’ that has taken place between its management and its freeholder.
Weald Park Golf Club failed to open – without notice – on Tuesday, October 2, and has been closed since.
The club was bought by AAF Leisure, which has been committed to a programme of investment, in 2010, and was operating normally up until the closure. It was even selling decade-long subscriptions via a third party the day before it shut.
Following the closure, the club posted three apologetic updates on Twitter stating, for example, ‘we are very sorry for the inconveniences caused by this turn of events’ and ‘we apologise for this [and] are working to rectify things’. However, it did not state what had happened and did not respond to comments – including from people who had booked events such as weddings and golf days at the club.
On Monday, October 8, six days after the closure, the club issued a statement on Facebook that said: ‘Weald Park Golf Club was temporarily closed for business due to an incident that transpired between management and the freeholder of the property.
‘As we work towards rectifying the situation, we want our customers to know they are our priority and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.
‘While this situation is being corrected we want our customers to know that they will be kept abreast of new developments on this matter. Having said that, we plead with our customers to be patient with us as this situation is beyond the full control of management and as such may take a little longer than we anticipate.’
Members have said they have been left in the dark by the events. One, Nathan Rogers, said he had just won a competition in which the prize was 10 years’ membership at the club for a foreign friend, but he has received an email from Weald Park that “basically says they cant give me my prize”.
Another, Norman Whitlock, said he paid £2,000 also for a decade-long subscription this summer and now feels “gutted”.
Ultimate Golf Pro, which was offering 10-year subscriptions to Weald Park for people living outside the UK for just £120 on its website the day before the club closed, said it has suspended its deals with the club and may refund customers.
“The golf club is temporarily closed for business due to an altercation with the freeholder that has progressed to a legal measure,” said a spokesman.
“As a result of this unforeseen development we have suspended sales of the ‘unlimited golfing in the United Kingdom’ offer on Ultimate Golf Pro and are prepared to fully refund every customer in the event that this situation is not rectified in a satisfactory manner.
“We did not sell the membership to Norman Whitlock and we do not sell the membership deal to anyone in the United Kingdom. You can not buy the deal on Ultimate Golf Pro and that has been the case from the moment we were informed of the situation. No new sales of the product is permitted on the website.
“We thank AAF Leisure for promptly informing us of the situation and offering the required support to effectively manage things.”