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Gloucestershire Business News

Saved! Members secure future of threatened golf club

Gloucester Golf Club has been saved after members stepped in to secure the lease of the course.

The future of the club on Robinswood Hill was plunged into doubt after London-based owners Coleman and Basinghall Ltd announced last month that it was to shut after seven years of loss making.

But today it was revealed that the club members have agreed the terms of a lease with the owners securing its long-term future. It means nine jobs have been saved and this will rise to 15 in the summer.

Darren Smith (2017 Vice Captain) had previously held discussions with the owners and decided to approach Keith Wood the current Head PGA Professional at the club, about ways in which they could secure the future of the golf club for the members and the local community.

Following two weeks of meetings, planning and negotiations a lease was finally agreed between the golf club and the owners, the basis of which is to be a members lease.

This means the 40-year-old golf club will be run and administered as a members club but more importantly its future has been safeguarded on a long term basis.

Darren Smith will become the first club captain of the new look golf club in 2018 and a board of directors set up to run it. A presentation has been made to over 200 members of how the club will be structured.

The club said the successful outcome was down to the work of Darren Smith and Keith Wood and the directors Ian Brotherton (pictured below), Steve Ellway, Richard Baker and Paul Davies.

"The support we all received from the members, has been nothing short of amazing and justifies our collective belief we have a fantastic opportunity to work with each and every member in attempting to develop GGC into one of the most pleasant, warm and welcoming golf courses in the South West," said a club spokesperson.

"The work didn't stop once the lease had been secured as we now have a plan to purchase three brand new pieces of specialist John Deere green keeping equipment. These will be arriving in March and plans are now also afoot to totally refurb and improve the facilities incorporated within our driving range. A total refurbishment of our Pro Shop is planned before the end of the year.

"GGC will actively be looking to promote and market our new look establishment and hopefully attract new members, societies and hotel guests from our neighbouring affiliate partner, Hallmark Hotel."

Keith Wood will now become general manager of GGC, working with the board of directors. Steve Ellway is operations director.

The golf club has 400 members. This Thursday major improvements will be made to the club's golf range. The club also has the facilities to host business meetings.

Mr Wood said: "Since we released a statement to the members agreeing a long term lease with the owners, the excitement within the club and people already making enquiries has been nothing short of amazing, and I can't thank the members enough for all their support.

"Personally, I have been at GGC since I was 11 years old and have had to overcome lots of hurdles in my golf career but this has become one of the proudest moments for me and my family.

"I know, along with all the members, directors, captain and guests, the potential GGC has will be finally realised and it is my dream to be part of the team that delivers this to the members."

Gloucester City Council leader Cllr Paul James said: "It's great that this story has had a happy ending. It would have been a great shame if Gloucester had lost this much-loved and well-known facility. It's great news that Keith and his team have stepped forward to take it on and ensure the future of such an important part of the city's landscape. I wish them every success."

Punchline believes this is the best possible outcome for Gloucester Golf Club and also the city. It will be run by the members for the members but with some very experienced directors at the helm guiding the club's future success.

Top picture: General manager Keith Wood (right) with operations director Steve Ellway

Lower picture: Director Ian Brotherton

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