Struggling golf club has its future saved

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 13, 2019 13:06

At least two golf clubs concerned about their futures have been putting together rescue plans in the last few days – and at least one of these has meant the club has been saved.

Marland Golf Course in Rochdale, which was on the verge of closing down, has had its future secured, after its plan was approved by Rochdale Council.

The 18-hole course will be run by local golf professional Andrew Terry and his business partner, Joe Jackson, for 12 months, after the council agreed to support their takeover plan.

The course is owned by Rochdale Borough Council and has been run by its leisure provider Link4Life for a number of years. But the council recently signalled that it could no longer support the facility.

A takeover plan submitted by the pair was deemed unviable by the council in the long-term but it got back on track after a meeting where it was explained why the plan had gone off course, reported Rochdale Online.

During the meeting Andrew and Joe provided new assurances, which led to the council making an offer for the pair to run the course for a year, which was accepted, it stated.

Joe Jackson, new finance director at Marland Golf Course, said: “We’d like to thank Rochdale Council and Link4Life for their support in finding a way to keep this fantastic facility open for the community as a whole. It is a really forward thinking pathway to let the third sector help the council in keeping places like this operating, under the constant financial pressures the council face.

“We are delighted we have played our part in keeping Marland Golf Course open, however this is only the start and the hard work starts now. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received and we want to encourage everyone to come and use the facilities to make sure it is the family friendly, thriving, community hub we want to create. So please come and say hello and get involved!”

The club will be reaching out to local schools and charities offering free membership and coaching for children, and attracting new people to the sport with beginners ‘Get into golf’ sessions.

Joe and Andrew, who will be the director of golf at the course, plan to improve the course and facilities with a new coffee shop for park users and golfers to enjoy. The club are looking for sponsorship and seeking local businesses and individuals to get involved in keeping the course and facilities running.

Councillor Allen Brett, leader of the council, said: “I’m delighted that we now have a serious plan in place that put security in place for the course and the staff who run it. We know there has been concern over this wonderful facility but there is no real justification for the council subsidising a golf course anymore when we are having to make such serious cuts to other services. I wish and Andrew and Joe all the very best with their new venture and look forward to seeing it become a real success.”

Meanwhile, Craigie Hill Golf Club in Scotland held a special ‘business briefing’ attended by around 100 members as the Daily Record has reported that it has been struggling to post profits.

The newspaper states that the 108-year-old club has seen a membership reduction of nearly 50 per cent since 2004 – and since then the age profile has risen.

Proposals discussed include selling some of the land and creating a nine-hole layout at the 18-hole venue. This would also fund the creation of a new purpose-built clubhouse.

Former captain Kenny MacKinnon said: “Nothing will be decided without the support of the members and we are looking forward to further feedback after a very positive and spirited meeting.

“While the current model is clearly unsustainable it was comforting to know the immediate future for the club is secured, with a number of long-term members offering to assist the club if required following our meeting. We are open to exploring all options to ensure golf continues to be played at Craigie Hill for generations to come.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 13, 2019 13:06
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