Two nine-hole golf clubs close down
Two nine-hole golf clubs in southern England have closed down due to financial difficulties.
It has been suggested by several in the industry that nine-hole golf could be a saviour for golf clubs, many of which have struggled through the last few years, because the time it takes to play 18 holes has been cited by many golfers as off-putting.
However, Thamesview Golf Centre in London and Homelands Golf Centre in Kent – both nine-hole venues – have closed down after difficult periods of trading.
Thamesview, which was a pay-and-play facility that included a driving range, bar, café, pro shop and function suite, had only been refurbished recently.
“I did take some pictures of a wedding reception there a number of years ago and recall it being quite dirty and shabby although I’m told that it has been refurbished more recently,” said a blogger for The Thamesmead Grump, which looks at the club’s local area.
“I had always assumed that owning a golf course was a license to print money. I regularly walk past the driving range and have noticed that there never seemed to be many people using it. Quite why it has struggled to attract customers I don’t know.”
The club’s general manager, Daniel Whinder, posted a note on the clubhouse door saying that the golf centre would be ‘closing for business for an indefinite period’. No details why have been given, the club’s website has been taken down and its phones are not being answered.
Meanwhile, Homelands Golf Centre in Kent’s owner has entered liquidation and its assets have been sold off at an auction.
The venue is, however, set to reopen in the next few weeks as ‘Kingsnorth Golf Club and Driving Range’, as golf professional Mark Chilcott has bought the location.
He said: “It’s going to be a bit of a DIY SOS, with all hands on deck. We’re going to be building a new bar and café, as well as changing facilities and a new golf shop.”
Mr Chilcott’s plans include changing the shape of the fairways and planting 80 trees. He said the driving range is one of the club’s major assets and revealed that he has just invested in 30,000 top-quality range balls.
He added: “On one side, I will build my own golf academy and on the other side, we hope to put a golf simulator in.”
The club will continue to offer pay-and-play, and will also offer a deal to those who were members of Homelands who when it closed and therefore did not use all the membership they had paid for.
More than 200 items from Homelands, ranging from course machinery to golf clothing, have been sold at auction, raising more than £45,000.