Norfolk golf club to close and become pay and play course
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
The managing director of a Norwich golf course has announced its club is set to close at the end of the year.
Larry Rowe, the managing director of Costessey Park Golf Club, in Parklands, has announced the club will close on December 31 with the course becoming a pay and play centre from the new year.
Mr Rowe, who has worked at the club since 1997, said the decision to close it had not been an easy one but declining membership numbers meant it was no longer financially viable to keep the club going.
He said: "At its peak the club had 450-plus members but membership has declined over the years and it has been making a loss for some time."
Mr Rowe previously put the course up for sale but after potential developers failed to secure planning permission for the site, sales fell through.
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He said: "I could see [after planning permission was refused in June] that it wasn't really going to sell.
"So now, to reduce my costs, I'm reducing it to a pay and play course."
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Mr Rowe put the club's falling membership numbers down to fewer young people taking up golf, competition from other clubs in the county and a perception of golf being an expensive pastime.
He said the club's current 280 members had been disappointed by the news.
"The members we have are very loyal and when your membership is reduced you're left with the most loyal members but it's just crazy to run it with the level of losses [it currently has]," he said.
"It was a difficult decision to make, it's not that I have run out of money but it's just silly to keep pouring money into it.
"As a pay and play facility, I'll have better control over the expenditures."
Mr Rowe said he hoped the closure of the club wouldn't lead to any staff redundancies, and added: "On the hospitality front we have a number of casual staff so I imagine some of them won't be called on in the future but I'm hoping to avoid redundancies."