131-year-old Surrey golf club to close down

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 6, 2019 09:02

An historic golf club in Surrey has said it will cease trading in March – the second major UK golf club to close since the start of the year. It also means at least three clubs will close on the same day in March.

Redhill and Reigate Golf Club was established in the 1880s and was the second oldest golf club in the county.

According to SurreyLive, the venue ‘has battled to stay afloat for almost two decades’.

The club is set to close at the end of March – meaning at least three golf clubs, North Luffenham in the East Midlands, Maywood in Derbyshire and now Redhill and Reigate will all shut down just a few hours after the UK is set to leave the European Union.

Redhill and Reigate’s clubhouse, which is privately owned and a separate entity, will however continue to operate as a venue, reports the website.

Club chairman Tony Hallett said: “I and the trustees appreciate all the help and support the council has given over several years whilst we have kept the club open in adverse trading conditions.

“Sadly, the club is no longer financially viable and the time has come to accept our combined efforts have been in vain and the club must close. Relations between the club and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council remain very positive and it is to be hoped they ultimately succeed in finding a long-term solution that will enable golf to return to the site. I’d also like to express my thanks to staff and members of the club for their support and understanding.”

The council had been in discussions with other potential operators to run a ‘pay and play’ golf course as an interim solution, but efforts failed.

The club had 660 members in the mid-1970s but that had plummeted below 300 by 2013. That year, the club, which had been owned by members since its inception in 1887, almost closed. It was saved by a sell-off and became proprietor-led for the first time. At the time, loans of £120,000 it had borrowed from members to stay afloat remained unpaid.

A local golfer said: “Everybody is totally gutted. There’s no real reason for it; it’s senseless, but everyone understands the owner’s side – you can’t keep funding something forever with your own personal money.

“The golf club has gone and the common will, I feel, be a worse place for it which for everybody else apart from golfers, is a real shame.

“I find it hard to believe the council would be stupid enough to let it close but they have obviously got their reasons. It all comes down to money, like most things, I’m afraid.”

A council spokesperson said the club was given a reduced rate when a 10-year-licence was granted in 2009, which was further cut in 2014 and in 2017.

Cllr Alex Horwood, the council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “Our intention is to keep the site as a golf course for community use in future and we’re investigating options and potential operators to allow this to happen, but this will take time.

“In the meantime, the council will take on the day to day upkeep of the site as common land, as it will be too costly for us to run and maintain the site as a golf course without the support and expertise of an experienced commercial operator.”

In January Brunston Castle Golf Club in Scotland announced it has closed down and at the end of last year at least six UK golf clubs closed down in the space of six weeks, including Potters Bar Golf Club in Hertfordshire, Carrick Knowe Golf Club in Edinburgh, Fishwick Hall Golf Club in Lancashire, Raglan Parc Golf Club in Wales, Canwick Park Golf Club in Lincolnshire and Southwood Golf Course in Farnborough.

http://www.thegolfbusiness.co.uk/2019/01/donald-steel-designed-scottish-courses-closes-down/

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 6, 2019 09:02
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15 Comments

  1. Alberto January 31, 15:05

    It Is a very hard period for the UK golf. Which are the reasons of All these crisis?

    Reply to this comment
    • Alistair January 31, 17:37

      Too many golf courses. Not enough golfers who want to be a member of a club.

      Reply to this comment
      • Tony February 1, 10:21

        It would take too long to explain why but sadly golf is returning to the dark days of closed shop and old school. Golf has never embraced change and the unions and association quite honestly never really wanted to change. Introducing foot golf and the like is never the answer golf is what it is a niche sport full of dinosaurs

        Reply to this comment
        • Alberto February 1, 13:31

          Tony same here in Italy, but we Hope that the work my Company Is starting doing ( incoming promotion) could give a new impact and stimulate italian golf clubs to a new business modello

          Reply to this comment
        • Mood February 1, 18:52

          Very true have tried joining couple of local clubs that are”exclusive” don’t know why all I want is to be able to play golf but they are too stuck up!!!

          Reply to this comment
      • Confucius 500BC February 7, 18:07

        A pity. New generation weaned by computer age, not joiners like elders, want “quick-in/quick-out” efficient golf!

        Those who refuse to economize the game, must learn to agonize in loss of interest

        or

        Change being the only constant

        Reply to this comment
  2. Dave January 31, 15:07

    Very worrying trend ….

    Reply to this comment
  3. Martin February 4, 12:06

    Sad times, I have heard rumours of 2 local golf course in Kent closing, this follows the recent closure of Broke Hill.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Pete February 7, 14:36

    So, what are you going to do, watch them all close? Times change!
    We had the same thing happen here with courses closing all over. With new culture, fewer golfers coming, we asked why?

    Game takes too long, costs to much and too frustrating!

    So we developed new Hybrid golf ball that solves these issues and makes golf enjoyable again. Now we have more golfers playing!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Philippe February 7, 15:28

    What about the “pay & play” as a solution ?

    Reply to this comment
    • Pete February 7, 17:38

      How does pay & play really change the game? It’s just the same uninspiring format in smaller segments.
      Got to make the modern golf game quick, affordable & enjoyable for the new generation, if you want to grow the game.

      Reply to this comment
  6. jojo February 10, 16:07

    Revitalise the old Clubs,instead of building new ones.
    We dont need to hit the Ball 500 yards,the short game
    is importend.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Jari February 11, 14:11

    similar problems here in Finland, the older generation doesn’t want to pay too much and the younger they dont have a time (family etc.) , six or 9 holes are enough

    Reply to this comment
  8. Pete February 12, 18:07

    We thought like that too, but felt shorted not being able to play the traditional round. So we started using the new generation Hybrid golf ball developed for “big course play” on shorter courses. Now we play a quick, affordable & less frustrating full 18-hole round in only 21/2 – 3 hours! Since the ball is proportionally distance-to-weight designed (meets golf standards), it give us the same format, in a compact modern time saving form.
    The ball actually improves the par, play & design of the course with little expense. Just adjust the tee placement and Hybrid par of each hole and it’s an easy conversion for a new course!

    Reply to this comment
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