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Hoylake Municipal Golf Course and Brackenwood Golf Club are at risk of closure under proposals being considered by Wirral Council under a wide range of planned cuts in a bid to save £27m and offset the Council’s budget for 2022/23.
Speaking to the BBC, the Club Secretary of Brackenwood Golf Club said he was “totally and utterly devastated” about the plans. He added, “We have elderly members who have already said they are too old to move and can’t afford to go to private clubs for over £1,000 per year.” The Council says there will be two remaining golf courses which will provide “a sufficient golf offer to the residents of Wirral.” The Council were said to have made promises to invest in the courses two years ago, only now to be seemingly turning their backs. The closure of both golf courses is set to save the Council £328,000; a small fraction of its £27m target.
Brackenwood is where European Tour winner Paul Waring played his junior golf, with the former English Amateur champion and 2018 Nordea Masters winner joining the club at the age of 10. He is currently President of the club.
The budget proposals, which describe the golf clubs as two of the lowest income generating, were discussed by the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee earlier this week. It was agreed that members of the Council’s Service Committees will consider the proposals in a special meeting on February 15 where the budget will then be presented for final decision on February 28. Wirral Council insists that it is an “ongoing process and no final decisions have been made.”
The closure of two of Wirral’s municipal golf courses will have a devastating impact in the local golfing community and the number of jobs at risk is not yet known. The closure of Hoylake Municipal Golf Course specifically casts a doubt ahead of the 2023 Open Championship, to be held at nearby Royal Liverpool Golf Club. The Club, which is located just outside the boundary of Royal Liverpool, was set to provide its land for Championship support vehicles and an area for players to practice.
A spokesperson at Wirral Council told Golf Monthly, “This could be done irrespective of whether Hoylake was open to the public as a golf course or not.” The R&A say they “understand the challenges faced by Wirral Council and are working closely with them to ensure the requirements of The 151st Open are secured.”
A spokesperson at Royal Liverpool Golf Club confirmed that Wirral Council had assured the R&A that their decision would not affect The Open but added “it is early days and we are taking the time to consider the wider implications of the decision, should Wirral's 2022/23 budget be voted through and the course closed.”
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.