Two more clubs placed into liquidation

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 25, 2013 12:37

Two golf clubs have gone into liquidation, with approximately 55 jobs lost.

Tamworth Golf Club in Staffordshire and Inchmarlo Resort and Golf Club near Aberdeen have both become victims of the economic downturn.

Tamworth was, in 2007, leased by its local council to operator Jack Barker Golf Company, which has experienced a number of difficulties in recent months, particularly over its business model of using spoil as part of course redevelopment projects. The club has also suffered – its membership fell from 700 to 160 in recent years.

A spokeswoman said staff were given just five minutes’ notice before being told to collect their belongings.

Club secretary Elaine Pugh said: “The staff were given five minutes’ notice before the liquidators walked in. The centre manager told the staff and then the liquidators turned up.

“We have contacted all our members to let them know what is happening. The staff are very upset. One has worked there for 33 years and she is in bits.”

Tamworth Borough Council, which only a few weeks ago pledged to invest £100k at the club on a new driving range, now must decide what to do with the venue, amid claims that it has already attracted vandals.

Leader of the council, Danny Cook, suggested the club could still survive if it were to make a profit.

“I realise this is a time of uncertainty for the golf club members and staff. We are looking at the options available to us, as a local authority,” he said.

“The company is in the process of liquidation, but the land remains in our ownership. It was clear that the company was no longer viable and could not meet its commitments.

“I could not – and would not – justify restructuring rents and other terms any further.”

He added that he would have to take the council’s “financial situation” into account and decide if the course was “the best use” of the asset.

“Despite having worked closely with Tamworth Golf Centre [the name of the company that was set up to run the club] and recognising the challenges that the recession had on its business model – there came a point where it was simply no longer in interest of the taxpayers to continue as we were,” he said.

“It is important we understand feedback surrounding future provision of golf in Tamworth, and whether – in the current climate – it is the best use of this asset; after all, the course belongs to the taxpayer and we respect that.

“When looking into the options available to us, we must also take our priorities and current financial situation into account.”

Some golfers at the club are not hopeful over the club’s future.

Brian Hancox said: “I play there twice a week. They will have to find someone else to lease it.

“Luckily my season ticket runs out in March, so I have not lost too much.

“I love the course. It was renowned through the country as one of the top municipal courses. It’s just gone downhill.

“I do not think they will get anyone to take it over.”

Colin Stokes added: “Heads should roll over this. They have ruined what was the jewel in the crown of Tamworth sports’ facilities.

“It has the potential to be a first class golf course.

“You have to question the integrity of the operation from day one. It was suicidal what they were doing.

“I would hope the council step in and pledge to maintain it as a golf course and put it into the hands of people who can run it properly.”

Employee Dave Fulford told the Tamworth Herald that he had worked there for 14 years – and said staff had not been paid properly for two months. Redundancies had also been made 12 months ago.

“We knew a long time ago that there was a problem,” he said. “The suppliers had stopped supplying us.

“I feel sorry for the rest of the staff. We knew it was coming. I was hoping to stay as long as I could.

“I honestly cannot see the council re-opening it. I would love to see it remain as a golf course and properly run.”

He added that there had already been “joyriding” on the site following the centre’s closure.

Meanwhile, 25 staff have been made redundant as Inchmarlo Resort and Golf Club near Aberdeen has been placed into provisional liquidation.

Inchmarlo, which was opened by former Open champion Paul Lawrie during the boom in new facilities in the mid-1990s, features an extensive range of amenities including an 18-hole course, a nine-hole course, driving range, restaurant and luxury self-catering villa accommodation.

It was sold to a property developer in 2009, and a plan for a £100m cookery school run by celebrity chef Nick Nairn, plus a hotel, housing and golf improvements, at the resort was thwarted by local councillors in 2011.

A spokesman for liquidator KPMG said: “The golf courses have been local fixtures for the last 20 years and we will take all steps possible to find a new owner.

“It is with regret that we have had to make a number of redundancies on appointment, but unfortunately, there was no other option.”

He added that the company had experienced trading difficulties for some time, and with no other investment available, requested the appointment of a provisional liquidator.

The golf course operation has now been closed. But the company’s interest in the golf course and golf facilities (which are leased) are being offered for sale.

Last month Allerthorpe Park Golf Club in Yorkshire was also placed into liquidation.

The three closures have led to some analysts detailing that there are too many clubs in the UK to cater for demand, with one industry insider stating that he believes that the wet weather last year will mean that at least 75 golf clubs will close this year.

However, the recent England Golf survey of 777 golf clubs found that one in four is experiencing a rise in members at the moment. The vast majority of these clubs are either working with their county golf partnership or other England Golf participation programmes to attract beginner golfers to their venues.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 25, 2013 12:37
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  1. @DavidGoldstone1 February 27, 08:39

    And unfortunately another one goes into administration, this will happen more and more as the season goes on.

    Reply to this comment
  2. @Beardymilne February 25, 19:49

    Well worth a read looks like a number of golf clubs are failing around the country
    #trumped #trumpedmovie

    Reply to this comment
  3. @maderatrescom February 25, 15:01

    También en UK RT @AlDunsmuir: 55 jobs lost as two prestigious golf clubs are placed into liquidation

    Reply to this comment
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