The main golf clubs that have closed down this summer
More than five years after golf clubs started shutting down due to financial difficulties, several have closed down this summer, particularly due to an increasing shortfall of members.
Nine-hole Milton Park Golf Club near Cambridge has been placed into liquidation and six jobs have been lost.
Mary Currie-Smith of insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor commented: “Despite a significant level of investment from the directors and shareholders, the company was unable to meet its liabilities as and when they fell due.
“As a consequence, the company entered liquidation, which has resulted in six employees being made redundant.”
She added that the business, which first opened in 2007, had failed due to a decline in the number of both casual golfers and members as a result of competition from other golf courses in the local area, in addition to the economic climate.
It is hoped the development will not cause the 300 members significant losses, as the majority of these are said to have paid their fees in monthly instalments by direct debit.
Cambridge residents have over 10 nearby golf courses to choose from, ranging from the centrally-located Cambridge Lakes Golf Course to the slightly further out Menzies and Meridian clubs.
These local clubs fall within a group of 33 across the county, meaning competition for golf club members remains fierce.
The former golf course will be marketed for sale once liquidators have completed their assessments.
The decision of whether the site will remain in use as a golf course, or will adopt a new function, will be made by the future purchaser.
Meanwhile, Western Park Golf Club in Leicester is to be closed down in stages over the next few months.
The municipal club has 253 members but was subsidised last year by its local council to the tune of £123,000, and the local authority said it could not afford to provide any more funding for it.
It is thought the green space will be converted into housing.
A council spokesman said: “We’ve had to look at a number of factors, including membership figures, facilities, location and financial viability.”
He added that there are 16 other privately-run courses in the city and county, which were often “comparatively priced”.
Members at Western Park said they were devastated by the decision.
Neil Clapham, 52, from Groby, who has played the course since he was a child, said: “I’m absolutely fuming. It’s a disgrace.
“When times were good, the council took a lot of money out of this club but never invested in it.
“It’s been allowed to go downhill.”
And Saline and Steelend Community Council in Scotland has warned that its local golf club will close down unless more locals use it.
The authority said the golf club could face critical financial problems, after it made a net profit of just £2,581.96 on a total turnover of more than £200,000 in a nine-month period.
While it was stressed that the club, which has 165 full members, was solvent, the auditor selected by the committee warned that if it “continued to operate in its normal habitual way”, income would fall below expenditure in “a relatively short space of time”.
But there was “time to take action to safeguard against a slide into insolvency”, the auditor added.
Community leaders hope that non-golfers will join as ‘social members’ and help retain what they say is the only social hub left in the village.
John Crane, chair of the community council, said, “The golf club is the only place in the village available to socialise and have a drink.
“It is not in debt at the moment but the club’s new treasurer, Alan Monk, projected ahead and it’s only a matter of time unless we increase the income. At just £10 for an adult and £4 for an OAP, a social membership is not a lot money and we are hoping to rally around the club and keep it going.”
Local councillor Bobby Clelland said, “The club is in the same position of others in that it is suffering from a decline in numbers but the good thing is that they have identified the situation and are trying to do something about it.
“We are trying to make people aware of the club and that they can come and have lunch and take in the views, which are fantastic. You don’t have to be a member to use the facilities but we hope that after a couple of visits they would look to become members.”