Global Edition

Midlands course for the axe?

12.52am 19th February 2009 - Course Development

In a bid to save itself £800,000 Redditch Borough Council has announced that 97-year-old Pitcheroak Golf Club may be closed and turned into parkland.

This is one of the possible cost savings that have been identified and will be voted upon at a full meeting of the Conservative-controlled Council on 23rd February. If closure is approved the meeting will be followed by a period for public consultation.

The news has been met with fierce opposition from golfers. The Worcestershire and Herefordshire County Golf Partnership is reported to have offered to pilot a one-year scheme to get 25,000 rounds played within 12 months. Initiatives included employing a full-time professional to collect green fees, running taster sessions and a junior academy, and restocking the club shop seven days a week.

Andrew Boyd, county secretary for Worcestershire Union of Golf Clubs, said, “We are very disappointed Redditch Borough Council sees the closure of Pitcheroak Golf Club as a viable way of cutting costs. The club is an important link in the chain when it comes to bringing new talent into the game. Many youngsters start playing at their municipal course before moving on to bigger clubs.

“And many prefer the flexibility of the pay-per-play option. What is most disappointing is the fact we talked to the Council last year and came up with a plan to manage the course better. If it was successful, the English Golf Union was planning to roll the scheme out nationally.”

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