Clubs spending heavily on non-golf facilities24th September, 2013 by Emma Williams
Several golf clubs are spending heavily on improving their facilities in a sign that the worst may be over for the industry. However, most of the money is being spent on non-golf offerings.
Many golf clubs have been hit hard by the economic downturn over the last few years, with scores even going under.
But in the last few weeks a host of clubs have announced that they are embarking on major capital investment projects, with the majority of the money going towards their bars, restaurants and accommodation.
Chase Golf Club in Staffordshire has begun a £1 million refurbishment, including the building of a new 80-seater restaurant with meals made from locally-sourced produce.
The golf club is also transforming two office rooms in the clubhouse into 17 guest rooms, including a bridal suite.
“We’re planning to create around 15 to 20 jobs when the restaurant opens, while the new accommodation is looking to create around 12 more jobs,” said the club’s operations director, Bryan Davies
“This is the latest in a series of improvements since a local family bought the club in 2009. They’ve invested heavily in the club since then, spending over a million on the club’s new spa and health club.
“The new restaurant and guest rooms will be around another million at least as well.
“We currently host 35 wedding receptions each year, but unfortunately they all have to stay elsewhere.
“With the new guest rooms and restaurant we’ll have everything under one roof like a complex – they can use the spa and the driving range, too.”
Meanwhile, Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Northern Ireland has spent £500,000 on upgrading its facilities.
The money was spent 50/50 on its course and clubhouse.
The clubhouse has seen a refurbishment and extension, which includes new changing facilities, relaxation areas and a contemporary balcony area for the bar and restaurant for members and visitors to dine alfresco.
“Coupling the great course with an equally magnificent clubhouse now offers golfers exactly what they want,” said a spokesman.
“Galgorm Castle is a modern, friendly and progressive club which continues to invest and improve its facilities annually and is recognised as one of the top golf courses and facilities in Ireland.”
And Banbury Golf Club in Oxfordshire has invested £240,000 on its clubhouse.
Two businessmen, who have now revamped the building, including the changing facilities, and bought a £30,000 golf simulator, purchased the golf club earlier this year.
One of them, Chris Hoggart, said: “The changes to the clubhouse have more than matched our expectations and, along with the course alterations, have attracted compliments from guests, visitors and societies.
“Our members have commented they have a club they can be proud of and are happy to bring guests to.”
The changes include a new bar and fully-refitted kitchen with a variety of options and snacks.
The modern open plan lounge has been created to incorporate existing stone walls and wooden beams.
The state-of-the-art golf simulator will allow players to test their skills on more than 80 courses around the world, including Pebble Beach, St Andrews and Bay Hill.
Work has also been carried out to improve the golf course.
Hoggart added: “We have already seen an increase in the number of partners and families coming in, which is pleasing as we want to encourage more ladies and juniors to take up the game.”