Riddlesden lost half its membership in just three years

Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham August 12, 2016 13:42

An 89-year-old Yorkshire golf club that closed down earlier this year lost half of its membership between 2012 and 2015.

Four years ago Riddlesden Golf Club had more than 220 members but by the start of this year it had just 114. That number, and with increasing expenditure, meant those members voted for the club to cease operating.

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Two greenkeepers and a steward lost their jobs.

Secretary John Dickinson, 66, who had been a member of the club since 1984 and had held various posts including captain and president, said the situation was not sustainable – especially as the club was unable to replace more elderly members who were retiring with younger newcomers.

“There was quite a bit of discussion at the extraordinary general meeting and not everyone was in favour of winding up the club but there was a big majority who voted with the proposal,” he said.

“We did as much as we could to keep things going but it was simply not financially viable any more. It’s a very sad state of affairs but things just couldn’t go on as they were.”

The club decided to close down just before subscriptions were due for renewal.

“Expenditure was continuing to rise while income was falling and you simply can’t sustain that,” he said.

“The club used to be incredibly well supported but for various reasons membership dwindled.

“People have got older, some have moved away and others have perhaps gone to other clubs where friends play. There are many reasons.

“The reality is we didn’t have enough members, particularly at the younger end.

“We looked at different options – some courses offer deals, for example – but the bottom line is it is difficult nowadays to attract new people.

“To see the club have to close was a massive blow to everyone.”

Local golf clubs said at the time that they were sad to see the loss of Riddlesden. Baildon GC said it was “really sad news” and Fulneck GC said it was “Very sad. This is a very difficult time for a lot of golf clubs.”


Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham August 12, 2016 13:42
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