Three more golf clubs to close down

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 27, 2019 21:44

Another three golf clubs, one in Scotland, one in Yorkshire and one in Norfolk, have announced they will close down by the end of this year.

One will still see golf played at the venue as it will be converted from a members’ club to a pay-and-play facility due to a declining membership, while there are no plans to continue offering golf at the other two.

The first of the three clubs to go is South Leeds Golf Club, which has said it will cease trading before the end of November after attempts to secure its financial position failed.

Vandalism, declining membership and the rising price of bills have all been listed as reasons the club – founded in 1906 – has been unable to survive.

Director David Appleyard said: “We’ve been trying to fulfil memberships and keep it running until the end of the year, but circumstances have forced us to close, sadly.

“There is a decline in membership, and a decline in people playing golf in general. We have had issues with vandalism at the club.

“Vandals come onto the course with quad bikes and that puts people off wanting to play. It works on a pay and play basis, so people aren’t going to pay to use the course if there’s a chance it could be in a bad condition.

South Leeds Golf Club. © Facebook

“Many of our members understood that this would probably be the last year. Some have been expecting it but even so, it is still a shock.”

Dollar Golf Club in Clackmannanshire was founded in 1890.

© Dollar Golf Club

Following its annual general meeting a short statement was released on its website that the club would be shutting down at the end of the year.

It read: ‘The closure of Dollar Golf Club was confirmed at the AGM on 18th November and golf operations will be discontinued from 31st December 2019. With falling membership, not alone in Scotland, the club has been struggling to avert closure for the past few years. Much effort was put in to keep the club going but it had been losing money for some time and efforts to find funding elsewhere were unsuccessful. To meet the resultant commitments, redundancy of staff, etc, it was considered unwise to struggle on only to meet cash problems in the coming year. Accordingly but reluctantly, the club council could only reach the conclusion that closure at the end of this year was the only option.’

Dollar Golf Club. © Facebook

At the same time, Costessey Park Golf Club in Norwich has announced it will also close on December 31 – with the course becoming a pay and play centre from the new year.

Larry Rowe, managing director, said the decision to close it had not been an easy one but declining membership numbers meant it was no longer financially viable to keep the club going.

He said: “At its peak the club had 450-plus members but membership has declined over the years and it has been making a loss for some time.”

Costessey Park Golf Club. © Facebook

Rowe previously put the course up for sale but after potential developers failed to secure planning permission for the site, sales fell through.

He said: “I could see [after planning permission was refused in June] that it wasn’t really going to sell.

“So now, to reduce my costs, I’m reducing it to a pay and play course.”

He said the club’s current 280 members had been disappointed by the news.

“The members we have are very loyal and when your membership is reduced you’re left with the most loyal members but it’s just crazy to run it with the level of losses [it currently has],” he said.

“It was a difficult decision to make, it’s not that I have run out of money but it’s just silly to keep pouring money into it.

“As a pay and play facility, I’ll have better control over the expenditures.”

Four more golf clubs close down

Last month we reported that at least nine golf clubs had closed down in the previous few weeks.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 27, 2019 21:44
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  1. Andyhise November 28, 12:09

    Very sad about all three, but South Leeds is particularly close to my heart having grown up as a junior golfer in West Yorkshire .. I played there several times. Such a great shame, and I hope they gave it a good send-off in the bar that night.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sandijay November 23, 08:54

    Sad about Dollar played it with my friend Ann Douglas. She won the ladies open there, as did her mother many years before.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Svend November 22, 11:44

    The whole golf sector needs to become more innovative, customer-focused and engaged with its communities. If you just for golf then your club will find it very difficult. Turn your club house into a community hub and bring non-golfers into clubs #MoreThanAGolfClub

    Reply to this comment
    • Green staff November 22, 17:07

      I work at a golf club for many years and the worst possible scenario for trying to make a profit is having a membership all those over egos and self opinionated fools trying to run a business they know absolutely nothing about out but compare themselves to their handicap as to how intelligent they are is a sure sign of oncoming Dune for a great many members golf clubs

      Reply to this comment
      • Tomcat November 23, 10:22

        Perhaps if golf clubs started to make their memberships affordable then they would attract more people to the game and, in turn, to their clubs. For too long now, golf has been aimed at / geared towards the more wealthy.

        Reply to this comment
        • RPM November 28, 14:36

          Most of the costs to run a golf club are finite & are there regardless of how many rounds of golf you have. They are generally based on the standards you have/want. You then have to divide those by the number of rounds of golf you expect in the year & that sets your price. Membership are only bulk purchases of rounds. When golf gets sold for less than it costs to deliver it through discounting then clubs, private or otherwise, will go out of business.

          The numbers of people playing golf are pretty stable now but a lot of them are not joining clubs because that doesn’t suit their lifestyle. Their mobility makes it difficult for the average club to accurately plan their income & because the profit margins are small,it is easy for them to get in to financial trouble.

          In regards to your last point, golf in Scotland is cheap compared to south of the border & they are still losing members.

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  4. Alan November 22, 11:41

    This is a very sorry situation. I have played Dollar a few times in my youth. If any of the staff at any of these golf clubs are looking for work in the future then please contact either John or Alan at we will have opportunities in Europe in many countries.
    Please pass on our details if you know any of these greenkeepers

    Reply to this comment
    • Jean November 23, 14:17

      I am so sorry to hear about Costessey golf club closing. As a group of students we enjoyed playing 36 holes every Sunday. I have fond memories as I had my only hole in one on the par 3 up the hill. Almost 30 years ago! I hope golfers will continue to pay and play.

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