Clubs still closing down despite recovery12th December, 2013 by Jenny Yu
A host of golf clubs have closed down, or entered administration, in recent weeks, or are in the process of closing down, despite the economic recovery.
Many clubs have indicated a stronger financial performance in 2013 than in 2012, but this appears to have come too late for some.
Woodham Golf and Country Club in Durham, for example, has gone into liquidation.
Directors at Woodham Golf Resort, which operates the club, have closed the venue down, just a few months after the company entered administration.
They had previously hoped to build a hotel and executive homes at the club, but failed to raise the necessary money.
A spokesman said the business was profitable in summer but not during the winter months.
Mount Oswald Golf Club, also in Durham, is closing down at the end of this month.
The venue will then be converted into buildings for housing and student accommodation, with some due to open within a year.
It is not yet known what will happen to Mount Oswald’s clubhouse, which is a Grade Two listed building, but there are suggestions that it could be converted into apartments or a hotel.
Torphin Hill Golf Club in Edinburgh is having a meeting this month in which it will decide whether or not to close down. Edinburgh News has reported that ‘committee members are expected to close the club’s doors for good’ at the meeting.
The club, states the paper, needs a £20,000 cash injection to survive, despite nearly halving running costs in recent years. The problems have come about because its membership has dropped from 500 to 200.
Club secretary Christopher Davies said: “We are all desperately sad about this but we are stuck with a conundrum.
“You need at least 300 or 400 members to run a club but these days young people do not want to pay an annual membership to just one club.
“We have cut costs where possible but the fact is we’re not attracting enough new members.
“The club has been in crisis for some time but it’s a crisis affecting the whole Lothian golfing community, not just us. It’s a sad day for the club.”
Alan Shaw, vice president of the Lothian Golf Association, added: “We have seen figures dropping away over the last three or four years and it is very disappointing to see long-running, historic clubs such as Lothianburn and Torphin Hill in the trouble they have found themselves.
“It’s not looking good in the Lothians for golf at the moment – numerous other clubs are also suffering.”
Pryors Hayes Golf Club in Cheshire’s operator, Martin Redrup Developments, has also entered administration.
A spokesman for Onecall Hospitality Management, which has been engaged by the administrators to manage the day-to-day affairs and business of the golf club, said: “Pryors Hayes Golf Club remains a profitable enterprise and it is the intention of the administrators to proactively manage the club through to sale as a going concern.”
The nine-hole golf course at Reaseheath College, also in Cheshire, is to close and be converted into student accommodation. The course has been used for the last 26 years to teach turf management, but it also has several members.
And Seckford Golf Club in Suffolk is an example of the mixed financial fortunes of some venues. The club is thriving, with a growing membership, but it has entered administration because its members acquired a commercial company, Golf G.B., in 2008, which has been unable to service historic debt.
“Whilst the golf club operates through a limited company, the directors and shareholders are only doing so as trustees for the golf club members,” said administrator Andrew Kelsall.
“There was a deal where the company and liabilities were taken over.
“Seckford Golf Club continues to trade and members and those with functions booked will not notice any difference. It is very much business as usual, with a full range of facilities and staff covering both the course and the restaurant.”