Popular UK golf club in severe danger of closing down

Future of a golf course in Bath appears in doubt despite a petition being signed by thousands to save it...

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 2 Mar 2021

Popular UK golf club in severe danger of closing down

A popular golf course in Bath is in severe danger of closing down despite nearly 5,000 people signing a petition to save it, according to a report in the Bath Echo.

The local council is said to be looking for a new operator for Approach Golf Course at the High Common in Bath, but the cabinet has since rejected the only bidder for the site saying there were not "sufficient benefits."

Golfer Ben Reed, who launched the campaign, has disputed Bath and North East Somerset Council’s claim that residents want to see an end to any commercialisation of High Common.

Mr Reed is said to want to lead a volunteer-run takeover with support from the authority funded by a new concession at the site's cafe, but admits time is running out to even save the course.

"There’s been a gradual decline at the Approach, that’s not the current administration’s fault," Mr Reed told Bath Echo.

"It’s never been at the forefront of anyone’s priorities. That resulted in a rubbish course no one wanted to play on.

"It used to be one of the best courses of its type in the South West. It’s a really unique place, central to the city, with great views. It was very popular with tourists, students and families.

"It’s not realistic for them to pay £150 to play. Going to the Approach is more comparable to a trip to the cinema or a game of tennis. It’s not elitist.

"If it’s left as parkland for long enough it will be impossible to turn it back into a golf course.”

Mr Reed has even offered to mow greens alongside other volunteers in a bid to save the course. He just needs a green light to be able to do so ahead of golf's return in the country on March 29. 

He added: "I don’t want that cabinet decision to be seen as final. It’s not impossible to see people playing golf there this year.

"Councillor [Paul] Crossley seemed to suggest people didn’t want any sort of commercial activity in High Common. That’s clearly not what the petition says."

Judging by the cabinet's response, the future of the golf course appears in jeopardy. 

"It’s clear that there is much passion and value for this site amongst the community and we appreciate everyone who has taken time to share their views on its future," said Cllr Crossley, cabinet member for community services.

"The Approach has operated at a cost to the council of around £28,000 a year and it’s not the case that we have neglected the site.

"The grounds maintenance costs of managing a golf course are higher than those of maintaining a park.

"We have gone out for a golf operator on two occasions and received no tender. Prior to this tender exercise we spoke with several golf operators. None of these chose to tender to provide golf."

 

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