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The Staffordshire Golf Club, situated on the outskirts of Dudley, has announced that it will close in May. The Club has said it endured a difficult two years after losing valuable income generated through weddings and functions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also reimbursed membership monies in 2020 but rising energy and operational costs proved to be too difficult with the club taking the difficult decision to facilitate a sale to a local businessman.
Speaking of the decision, Club Director, Mark Allen, said: “This has been such a difficult decision to take after being the family custodians of this historic course for more than 30 years. The challenges of operating the site have been growing and were exacerbated by the unprecedented pressures that we all faced, and continue to face, during Covid-19". He added: “Major investment would have been needed to diversify activities and this was a decision we were considering when we were approached, out of the blue, by a local businessman to purchase the land and buildings".
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Members have been informed of the deal to sell the venue, with an expected closure date to be the beginning of May. Members will have the option to have all membership fees refunded or transferred to Perton Park Golf Club; situated nine miles further north. Management is also working closely with those that had booked to hold events from May onwards, again to return monies to seek alternative venues. The Club, which was once owned by the Earl of Dudley, will retain all software and player data to ensure that scores and handicaps can be successfully transferred to other golf clubs.
The sale of the land and buildings will allow its ownership Company, C C Cooper (Lye) Limited, to focus solely on Perton Park Golf Club, which its Directors also own. Perton Park has seen more than £500,000 invested over the last four years and is said to attract 40,000 visitors each year.
In May 2021, the R&A published its participation report which revealed that, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, participation was on the rise. It reported that 5.7 million people played golf of some form in 2020, up from 2.3 million in 2019. Female participation also saw an increase, with 25 per cent of all female players new to golf. In a recent survey by accountancy firm Hillier Hopkins LLC, it found that, for the second successive year, memberships have risen, with 49% of clubs reporting more than 600 members, up from 43% in 2020 and 38% in 2019. That said, The survey found that nearly two-thirds of members are over the age of 50, with a third older than the age of 61. Age aside, it also found that three quarters of members were male. Golf clubs now face the task of attracting those new to participating in the game into its membership schemes, which is key for long-term success. Two Wirral public courses announced they were on the brink of closure, ahead of the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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