One of Leeds' oldest golf clubs is closing after vandalism leads to decline in membership

A golf club in Leeds has announced is closing after 113 years - as it was revealed members were being put off by vandals ruining the course.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:00 am
South Leeds Golf Club in Beeston has been forced to close after seeing a decline in membership, which its director has attributed to vandals ruining the course

South Leeds Golf Club, Beeston, is to cease trading from Monday next week after desperate attempts to secure its financial position failed.

Vandalism, declining membership and the rising price of bills have all been listed as reasons the club - thought to be one of the oldest in West Yorkshire - has been unable to survive.

Director David Appleyard has been going to the club for 40 years since the age of three, when he would visit with his father.

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South Leeds Golf Club in Beeston has been forced to close after seeing a decline in membership, which its director has attributed to vandals ruining the course

Mr Appleyard said vandals targeting the club and ruining the terrain with quad bikes had contributed to the recent decline in members paying to use the course.

"We have been in discussions for the past couple of weeks", Mr Appleyard said.

"We've been trying to fulfil memberships and keep it running until the end of the year, but circumstances have forced us to close, sadly.

"There is a decline in membership, and a decline in people playing golf in general. We have had issues with vandalism at the club.

Damage caused to the golf course in a previous incident in 2017

"Vandals come onto the course with quad bikes and that puts people off wanting to play. It works on a pay and play basis, so people aren't going to pay to use the course if there's a chance it could be in a bad condition."

He added that the "rising cost of utilities" had also played a part in the closure, with the various financial issues having a "knock-on effect".

South Leeds Golf Club was founded in 1906 and was one of the founding members of Leeds and District Union of Golf Clubs, which will next year celebrate its centenary.

"It is very sad", Mr Appleyard added.

"We won't be around to take part in the Union's centenary celebrations next year.

"Many of our members understood that this would probably be the last year. Some have been expecting it but even so, it is still a shock."

The club's board of directors will meet on Monday before administrators take over to deal with the club's finances.

South Leeds Golf Club remains open until then, and is staging one final competition on Saturday across the course's 18 holes before hosting an event at the bar. Both current and former members are welcome to attend.