Historic Yorkshire golf club to close down

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 12, 2020 10:52

A 109-year-old golf club in West Yorkshire that has ‘struggled with the upkeep of the facility’ in recent years has announced it will close down at the end March.

Silsden Golf Club said the decision is due to dwindling membership numbers and financial struggles, according to the Telegraph & Argus.

The club was saved from closure in 2014 when its members agreed to sell off all its assets in a deal which provided a five-year lease on the course. Part of Silsden’s problems had been that the club contributed £200,000 to the building of the clubhouse in 2001, and this resulted in the club falling into a debt that it never was able to come out of.

The clubhouse, which was built thanks to a National Lottery grant of £670,000, was then converted into a luxury property.

Chairman and treasurer Martyn Twigg said the closure was “very sad” for everyone involved, but that the club couldn’t continue as a viable concern.

“Throughout its history the course has survived thanks to the voluntary management by its members,” he said.

“Over the years there have been several periods when survival was in question, but the course has developed from the original nine holes to firstly 14 and then to 18 in the late 1990s – when the old wooden clubhouse was also replaced with a much larger stone building.

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“Unfortunately, completion of the expansion coincided with a general decline in golf’s popularity and the club struggled with the upkeep of the facility over the next 15 years.

“We were extremely fortunate in that a local businessman – Ian Hill – became the new owner and supported the club’s future with an initial five-year lease, with much optimism for extended years after that.

“Moreover, he has supported the club in many ways since his arrival and invested in improvements along the way – and we are extremely grateful.

“However, despite the best efforts of our small but dedicated committee, the club has been faced with year-on-year declines in membership numbers to the point where – whilst 2019 presented many difficulties financially – it was clear that this year would be even worse and we could not continue as a viable entity.

“A decline in the popularity of golf, and the ever-increasing average age of players, is a national scenario that has seen many clubs go to the wall in the last decade.

“Nevertheless, whilst the closure of Silsden is very sad for all the members, it may go some way towards making some of our neighbouring clubs a little stronger as our membership moves on.”

David Peat – competition secretary with Bradford & District Union of Golf Clubs, added: “They’ve been losing members for a while and the sport has declined in popularity generally in the last few years – although you do find these things go in cycles.

“There is a problem on the junior front. A lot of clubs are struggling to attract younger players – the average age of members has gone up substantially. It is a worrying trend.”

Silsden is at least the second UK golf club in the last few days to announce it will close.

Another Scottish golf club closes down

 

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 12, 2020 10:52
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1 Comment

  1. Peter February 6, 16:15

    It is always very sad to a historic property and club falling by the wayside ! Selling excess land, building housing and encouraging development is a sound strategy but by itself usually only delays the inevitable ! Fully understanding the primary market, being a “player’ in it and developing contrarian strategies to bolster usage, memberships and revenues must be part of the plan !

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