A new golf & property venture, Melior Golf, says that the government’s long-awaited Housing White paper, published on February 7th, contains encouraging news for golf landowners.
The spectre of hundreds of UK golf courses being lost and buried under rows of new housing is creating increasing stress in the golf industry, despite greenbelt restrictions which seemingly offer landowners limited options, but advisors at Melior Golf believe that compact new forms of golf will emerge from the process, and that overall golf participation could even rise significantly in the UK if golf landowners intelligently capitalise on the changing planning landscape, as hinted at in the White Paper.
With significantly increased land values tempting many business owners into a search for investment to convert their under-used golf courses into housing developments, Melior Golf has brought together a group of golf and property experts who can demonstrate success in this area.
Although last week’s White Paper generally drew a lukewarm reaction from the UK planning industry, Melior Golf co-founder Andrew Lloyd-Skinner says that there are indications within it that under-performing golf facility owners may find their options to capitalise on the land that they own are beginning to open up.
“The White Paper gives encouraging signs that certain types of golf land conversion schemes are now more likely to receive local planning support, if they are presented correctly” said Lloyd-Skinner, who left his post as Chief Executive of the UK Golf Course Owners Association in December 2016 to join his sons Tim and Angus Lloyd-Skinner in creating Melior Golf.
“Many golf industry leaders now agree that the UK currently suffers from an over-supply of full size golf courses, but also from a significant under-supply of entertainment-focused facilities which encourage non-golfers to first pick up a golf club” he said. “Where such centres exist, they require significantly less land. An example is the Three Hammers Golf Complex in Wolverhampton, which welcomed 220,000 visitors in 2015, all of whom tried golf in some form, in an area of just 21 acres – a fifth of the normal land occupied by a conventional golf course.
“If you consider this example alongside the implications in last week’s White Paper, the opportunity to act now is becoming clearer” he said. “If you own the land on which your golf course is built, but cannot seem to derive value from operating a conventional golfing facility on that land, now is a good time to consider converting your land into a mix of housing and sporting facilities, including investment in a sustainable, compact golf-themed or multi-sports entertainment solution.”
With numerous golf course to housing conversion projects currently underway in the UK, Melior Golf has the expertise to help landowners find the right balance between housing and golf as they redevelop their land.
“Our objective is to ensure that a sustainable compact golf and/or multi-sports facility, where appropriate, is included in conversions of underused golf courses to housing developments” said Lloyd-Skinner.
“We have been researching and refining this idea, and discussing it with many golf industry and development contacts, for over two years – and we have received almost unanimous support.
“If you are in a position where you are considering what to do with the land on which your golf course is built, contact us and we will help you to work through the process, including looking at local supply and demand issues regarding both local housing needs and the local demand for golf.
“We will work methodically to help you to come up with the right solution.”