Members vote to shut prestigious golf club
Members of one of the most traditional and prestigious golf clubs in the world have agreed to close their course down so that it can be converted into a housing estate.
Royal Norwich Golf Club, one of only 16 golf clubs in England to have been granted its royal title by Queen Victoria, and which had the future George V as its patron in 1893, is set to merge with Weston Park Golf Club, based seven miles away, following an historic vote.
More than 80 percent of the club’s members voted to move out of the city and turn the club into a housing estate featuring 1,000 homes. The money from the sale of the land will then be used to buy Weston Park, redevelop its 18-hole course and build a nine-hole course and a clubhouse to accommodate the new members.
The move, scheduled for late 2017, is subject to planning permission being granted for both golf clubs.
Members voted after the club made a presentation detailing the reasons for the move, which included a speech by Bob Williams, CEO of the Golf Club Managers’ Association, who talked about the wider golf market and the unique opportunity the move presented for their club.
Adrian Myhill, captain of Royal Norwich Golf Club, said: “I was extremely pleased to get a strong mandate from the members for the relocation of Royal Norwich to Weston Park.
“We’re now looking forward to the hard work developing the detailed plans for planning permission.”
Royal Norwich Golf Club said it will invest a ‘substantial sum’ in the new merged golf club.
Manager Phil Grice added that it was a “unique opportunity” for the club.
He said: “The funds available will hopefully secure the next 120 years for the club. It’s too good an opportunity to pass up.
“The site we’re talking about is a beautiful 300 acres of parkland which, if we can redevelop, will be fantastic.”
Martin Goymour, managing director of Goymour Properties, the owner of Weston Park, said: “I am pleased for Royal Norwich members in that they have reached an important milestone towards their goal of moving to Weston Park.
“The project, upon completion, will benefit members at both clubs and enable Weston Park to be transformed into Norfolk’s premier golf club, a worthy new home for the Royal Norwich.”
Andrew Fuller, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, the developer behind the proposed housing estate, said he was “delighted” with the decision.
Not everyone was pleased with the vote however. One of the members who voted against told ITV News that it would be “sacrilege to tear up a perfectly good course just to accommodate another club.”
Royal Norwich has one of the richest histories in golf. One of its members, Arthur Havers, won the Open Championship in 1923. However, a spokesman said the club had been looking to relocate since the late 1980s, partly because golfers have to cross a busy road during their rounds, risking accidents. It is thought the merged club will continue to be a royal golf club.