Golf club that had just been saved is fearing for its future again

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 13, 2021 11:15

A 19th century Welsh golf club that only had its future secured this summer after a council had threatened to build a floodplain on it, is again fearing the worst due to the proposed construction of a nearby wind farm project.

Rhyl Golf Club, established in 1890, was saved from closure in June when its local council agreed to build sea defences with a new flood embankment around the perimeter of the golf course, to protect more than 2,000 nearby homes, rather than on the course.

However, members have now learnt that the Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm project has been proposed, and one of the two options for building it would mean the course would have to close, potentially for several years, for safety work to be undertaken. A club spokesman says this would be a disruption that the venue could not possibly recover from.

The issue surrounds the location of two large concrete transition jointing boxes, which has been proposed to be erected across the fourth, fifth and sixth fairways of the course. There is a second option though, which would see the boxes built further inland and away from the course.

Mike Pritchard, marketing officer at Rhyl Golf Club, said: “Obviously plan b would mean that the golf club would just need to contend with the sea defence work.

Image from Facebook

“We can play golf around this limited disruption.

“The work for plan a, plus the sea defence work, would mean continued disruption for up to six years. It would mean closure of the course for their works to be safely undertaken.

“The course would be unplayable and alternatives for our existing members would need to be sought.

“This, in reality, would just be unsustainable for Rhyl Golf Club and we would see no viable future, especially as the lease we have been given is for a limited time beyond this.

“If plan a went ahead the golf course will close permanently and the club would no longer exist. It is as stark as that.

“We have carried out our own feasibility and we just won’t have the commercial viability. Can you imagine telling our members that they have up to six years worth of disruption with the final years meaning that the course could not be played on at all for up to two seasons. How would you feel as a member? Let alone trying to attract in new members – it would be a marketing Everest to climb in flip-flops.

“Members are very worried. This is the future of their club, their social gathering space, their exercise remember, and one of the oldest golf clubs in Wales. Members are talking to their friends, family and local community to gain their support and to not let this plan take away something special to them.

“We want Awel y Môr to go with plan b and build their structure at the back of the railway line about half a mile from the golf club. Dong Energy have already built their site there and we know this is a viable option.

“The club was founded in 1890, we are one of the original James Braid designed courses and we have more than 200 members. We have also had notable golfers play the course over the years such as Henry Cotton and Harry Vardon to name a few.

“We have started to complete the Awel y Môr online feedback forms. This is a local community fightback; we want our voice to be heard far and wide and the more that can support us the better.

“We just want to let the people of Rhyl know that this will leave a big hole in the region if we go – and it may be one loss too many.”

A spokesperson for Awel y Môr said: “We are fully aware of the concerns raised and are currently holding detailed discussions with Rhyl Golf Club and Denbighshire County Council with regards to the Awel y Môr project. Our ongoing consultation welcomes any feedback and we would like to assure everyone that all views expressed over how we progress with the project, and specifically in light of this matter, will be considered.

“We are aware that there have been modifications made by Denbighshire County Council to the proposed sea defence plans that minimises the impact on the golf club, and we will again consider those in our final deliberations.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 13, 2021 11:15
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