Troubled historic Surrey golf club is sold and saved

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 15, 2022 10:47

A 19th century golf club in Surrey that has come close to closing has been sold to a private individual who has in turn entered into a long-term lease agreement with Get Golfing, the specialist charitable golf operator.

In 2018, the members of the 123-year-old North Downs Golf Club agreed to sell the facility to Safegolf, a property development subsidiary of Safeland, after multiple years of trading losses.

Safegolf proceeded to make a series of planning applications that would have seen an end to the golf club as it is known. Each application was rejected by Tandridge District Council and, as a result, the future of the club became more and more perilous. To further complicate matters, the local parish council, motivated by a fear of further planning application, started crowdfunding within the community to acquire Safegolf with the intention of closing the club and commence a rewilding programme in conjunction with Surrey Wildlife.

North Downs Golf Club

Safegolf in 2020 tried to sell the venue at an auction for £1.5 million.

It has now sold it to the unnamed private individual.

Edward Richardson, chief executive of Get Golfing, said: “The employees of Get Golfing and the members of North Downs are delighted to announce the acquisition and lease agreement. The club has been through a traumatic period of uncertainty and for it now to have gone into the safe hands of Get Golfing will lead to greater stability and a bright new chapter in the club’s long history. I first came to North Downs to play a junior open when I was probably 14 years old, so it is a lovely feeling to now be able to come back some 40 years later and, along with others, work to re-establish the club having taken it from imminent closure.

“We would like to think we have started to build a reputation for investing in our properties, improving the playing surfaces and broadening their appeal. With 5,500 active members and over 100,000 unique visitors to our sites in the past 12 months, we believe we have the skills to improve the club and increase the amount of golf being played there. Since our creation in 2018 we have invested £3.8 million of operating surpluses back into our clubs and this will continue. For us, the location of North Downs between Redlibbets (Sevenoaks) and Pyrford (Woking) fits well within our nine-site portfolio.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 15, 2022 10:47
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  1. The Reaper May 19, 18:05

    Fabulous news for all concerned, here’s to another 123years of golf at North Downs Golf Club.

    Reply to this comment
  2. AP May 13, 19:37

    Wonderful news that this course has been saved for use by future generations

    Reply to this comment
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