Colin Jenkins takes over Basildon Golf Club20th September, 2013 by Alistair Dunsmuir
The chairman of the Organisation of Golf and Range Operators, Colin Jenkins, has taken over the management of Basildon Golf Club in Essex.
The deal means the future of the course, which has had a troubled recent history, has been safeguarded.
Jenkins also runs several golf courses in the UK and Europe, including Staplehurst Golf Centre in Kent.
In 2005 Basildon Borough Council handed over the management of the course to Jack Barker Ltd, which took on various municipal golf courses around the UK and planned to redevelop them via the use of imported spoil.
However, in most cases the projects ran into financial difficulties and in 2011 the Audit Commission criticised Basildon Borough Council over its deal as councillors were not officially told that the agreement included 140,000 tonnes of spoil being dumped on the course. In the end, the work never took place.
Basildon Golf Club has been run by London Golf Management on a temporary contract for several months as the council has searched to find an operator that would reduce the local authority’s bill for the facility to zero.
As that search seemed to be fruitless, councillors talked about converting it into a housing estate, which led to the creation of ‘Friends of Basildon Golf Course’, which was formed by local residents to prevent the desecration of the public amenity.
That group then played a role in forging the deal between the council and Jenkins.
Jenkins will still have to prove the viability of the site, which the council claims was making a loss for a number of years.
Councillor Kevin Blake said: “We have achieved our goal and I would say a massive thank you to the Friends of Basildon Golf Course for the support they have given us.
“However, if the course cannot demonstrate its viability and the contract or lease fails at any time during the first two years, then it is recommended that the golf course will close with immediate effect.”
Mr Jenkins said: “I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to run Basildon Golf Course.
“I am looking forward to getting started and hope it will be a success for many years to come.”
This is the second time the club has made the news in the last few weeks. At the end of August the body of a missing 47-year-old man was found at the venue.
In the original version of this article we wrongly captioned a picture of Mick Toomer, chair of the Friends of Basildon Golf Course, as Colin Jenkins. Apologies to all concerned