WINCANTON Golf Club will close in March next year in a move some say will mean members lose “a large part of our life”.
Angry members say they have been informed of the decision – confirmed by owner of the site The Jockey Club – by email.
They say the closure will deprive golfers – including many elderly people – of a place to meet and socialise, as well as getting some exercise.
But Blaithin Murphy, who was appointed general manager at Wincanton Racecourse this month, said rising costs amid falling memberships meant the nine-hold facility was “no longer viable”.
However, members have hit out at the decision.
“They never had any meetings with club members, just an email informing us of their decision, stating that it was not viable financially to keep it open,” club member Harry Eden said.
“This is very bad news to many elderly golfers and others who rely on this facility to keep fit and to socialise with many people in the community.
“Wincanton is dying on its feet – and this is the final nail in the coffin.”
Mr Eden said he was aware of many members who would agree to an increase in membership fees, but that no one had so far been contacted by the Jockey Club.
“We have a well stocked trophy cabinet and also have a memorial tree for past members that will be lost forever if the closure goes ahead,” he added.
“For many elderly golfers, the club is a large part of our life, for socialising and keeping fit.”
Another golfer, Andrew Hoskins, of Kington, said: “It seems such a shame that next spring the Jockey Club have decided to scrap golf and the facility will be lost.
“The course has a decent catchment area and many local golfers find it a convenient place to enjoy the game.
“Although I am unaware of the economics of the golf side of the business it does seem a good way to utilise the area in the middle of the racecourse, keeping it tidy and providing work for the groundstaff during the summer when there is no racing.
“I am sure most local golfers hope for a last-minute compromise and reprieve.”
But Mrs Murphy said economic factors prompted the move.
“The decision to close the golf course has not been an easy one and we appreciate that this will not be welcome news to many,” she said.
“A number of external economic factors have led to a huge rise in operating costs and this, coupled with a consistent reduction in memberships over an extended period, has meant the course is no longer viable.
“The last day of play on the course will be on Sunday, March 31, 2024 and pay and play places remain available until then.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know so many members and would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their loyal support.”
For more information – and to book to play at Wincanton Golf Club – visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/wincanton/about/golf-course.