Could a golf club close because of funding for a white water rafting centre?
The members of a London golf club that made an £80,000 loss last year and could close down believe golf is being neglected by organisations that provide funding for sports venues.
Lee Valley Golf Course in Enfield is run by Lee Valley Regional Parks Authority (LVRPA), which looks after several of the venues used in 2012 London Olympics.
The authority has invested millions in its state of the art white water rafting centre, as well large sums in a velopark, tennis and hockey centre, but relatively little in the golf club, which doesn’t even have a clubhouse.
LVRPA will review the golf course’s future this autumn, and one of the options will be to close it down.
The club’s chairman, David Roche, has said LVRPA is discriminating against older people, because over half the club’s members are over 60, and favouring elitist sports that few people actually play.
He said: “The authority is taking ageism to a whole new level and has deprived everyday people who have retired the chance to take part in a sport that they love and can afford.
“They have poured so much money into sports that attract crowds but not enough actual participants. This is a beautiful, picturesque club that is used by people from all over the world and of all ages.”
Mr Roche added that the losses the club makes would be wiped out if LVRPA invested in a clubhouse.
He said: “The main reason for the loss is the lack of facilities here. People love the course but they cannot get a simple cup of coffee or a bacon roll and if we did have a clubhouse, there would be a lot of societies up here using it.
“This debt would be wiped out, no doubt about it.
“Golf is an Olympic sport and they are supposed to be paying into those sports. This adds another reason why the club must remain open.
“This golf club is the epitome of the Lee Valley and the Olympic ideal of ‘sports for all’ but it seems that they have totally disregarded this.”
Member of the club Derek Coombs added: “There is a distinct lack of facilities for members to even get a drink.”
Bill Moran, senior venues manager at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, said: “Lee Valley Golf Course is run by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, and there is a review into the golf course’s future but nothing has yet been decided.
“Lee Valley Golf Course will continue to operate under the current arrangements throughout this summer and autumn and the review will be completed by autumn 2014.”