A golf club in West Yorkshire that has stood the test of time for 109 years will shut down at the end of March due to dwindling membership and financial struggles.
Silsden Golf Club, which was founded in 1911, is a beautiful par-67 parkland course that features a strong mix of dangerous holes but scoreable ones against a stunning backdrop of the Aire Valley.
However the Brunthwaite Lane club will soon close its doors to its members after revealing the news during the club's last general meeting.
"Throughout its history the course has survived thanks to the voluntary management by its members," the club's chairman and treasurer Martin Twigg told the T&A.
"Over the years there have been several periods when survival was in question, but the course has developed from the original nine holes to firstly 14 and then to 18 in the late 1990s – when the old wooden clubhouse was also replaced with a much larger stone building, a development that was supported by the Sports Council.
"Unfortunately, completion of the expansion coincided with a general decline in golf's popularity and the club struggled with the upkeep of the facility over the next 15 years."
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Membership numbers took the first noticeable nosedive back in 2013, so much so the club could not sustain the mortgage payments and investment to the golf coure, and as a result the club went into mounting debts.
"We were extremely fortunate in that a local businessman – Ian Hill – became the new owner and supported the club's future with an initial five-year lease, with much optimism for extended years after that," said Mr Twigg.
"Moreover, he has supported the club in many ways since his arrival and invested in improvements along the way – and we are extremely grateful.
"However, despite the best efforts of our small but dedicated committee, the club has been faced with year-on-year declines in membership numbers to the point where – whilst 2019 presented many difficulties financially – it was clear that this year would be even worse and we could not continue as a viable entity.
"A decline in the popularity of golf, and the ever-increasing average age of players, is a national scenario that has seen many clubs go to the wall in the last decade.
"Nevertheless, whilst the closure of Silsden is very sad for all the members, it may go some way towards making some of our neighbouring clubs a little stronger as our membership moves on."
GolfMagic revealed a number of new golf club closures at the end of 2019 - READ HERE.