The Playgolf brand, along with the high-profile facilities at Playgolf Northwick Park and Playgolf Manchester, plus the long-established Playgolf Metro golf centre, have all been bought by a consortium led by Dilip Mehta, a North London businessman and golf lover.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, which saw Mehta take over the brand and facilities from Playgolf Holdings Plc, has led to the creation of three new operating companies – one for each facility.
Leisure Golf Ltd has been established to run Playgolf Northwick Park, in Harrow, North West London. Target Golf Ltd will run Playgolf Manchester, which is next to the giant Trafford Centre complex, and Barnet Golf Ltd will take care of the Playgolf Metro business, which is situated close to the A1 in Barnet, North London.
“The Playgolf brand has attracted hundreds of thousands of customers over the last ten years,” said David Standing, Executive Director of the Northwick Park and Manchester operating companies, “and has become synonymous with high-spec, multi-featured golf centres which cater equally well for families and beginners as well as for experienced golfers. We felt very strongly that the brand should continue under the new owners, as people have become very loyal to it.”
With all three facilities showing strong trading performance, despite the weak economy, Standing is bullish about the companies’ prospects. “The results we are getting at each facility make us highly optimistic not only for the second half of this year, but also for the years ahead,” he said. “While we recognise that the country is in the middle of a credit crunch, which means that we have to be as prudent as any other golf operator in the current climate, we have seen some great numbers from the early part of the golf season which lead us to believe that not only can we trade aggressively and confidently at Playgolf Northwick Park, Manchester and Metro, but also that the plans we have to develop each facility, and to introduce new initiatives, will be successful in securing the long-term future of each business.
“Playgolf Northwick Park, for example, has reported a 26% increase in green fee business in the first five months of 2009, year on year. This follows the management decision in 2008 to turn the Majors golf course there into a nine-hole facility, which has successfully corrected some performance issues the business was having after its ambitious launch as a six-hole, golf-in-an-hour proposition.”
Jimmy Wallace, general manager of Playgolf Northwick Park, welcomed the new owner’s arrival, “We have thousands of loyal customers who will benefit from the takeover in terms of some new ideas and innovative changes for the better, which we have already started to plan for. And our staff are naturally delighted that Northwick Park is set to continue its rapid growth pattern, which saw us voted as the UK’s #1 nine-hole golf course earlier this year.”
At Playgolf Manchester, general manager Craig Whitfield is equally optimistic, “This is nothing but good news for all our regular visitors, staff, suppliers and fans of this much-loved golf centre, which has been a landmark building for many years now in Manchester.”
David Standing feels that the Playgolf brand is now set to grow into the next decade, “Playgolf is powering forwards into summer 2009 and beyond with a great financial model, and some exciting plans for the future. We are delighted that we have been able to rescue these businesses following Playgolf Holdings Plc’s fall into administration, and we invite all customers old and new to visit these fantastic golf facilities.”