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Future uncertain as Tamworth Golf Course goes into liquidation

By PaulKemp  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

Tamworth Golf Course.

Tamworth Golf Course.

Comments (9)

THE future of Tamworth Golf Course was this week uncertain after its operators announced they had gone into liquidation.

As the Herald went to press, it was revealed that staff and members of the troubled golf course had been notified by bosses.

“It is dreadful,” said Elaine Pugh, the secretary of the golf club. “We have contacted all our members to let them know what is happening. They will be disappointed by the news.”

There are 11 staff working at the golf course, with 178 members of the golf club.

“What I think isn’t repeatable in the newspaper,” she said. “After talking to the members of staff, they are very upset. One has worked there for 33 years and she is in bits.

“It is not a great day.”

Liquidators have now been brought in to wind up the business. Season ticket holders, who pay £700 a year for course fees, are set to lose out.

Elaine said: “There are still a lot of questions which still need to be answered.”

The club has been on the course since 1975 but Elaine said the future was now in doubt.

“The thing is the course had improved. It really was not in a bad condition. It is very sad the staff have put so much effort into this.

“We have only known a couple of hours, so we don’t know what will happen.”

Elaine said should the golf course close then members would have to find another golf club to join.

The land is owned by Tamworth Borough Council, but the management of the course was leased to tenant Jack Barker Golf Company.

The course has been subject to ongoing criticism in recent years after users complained it was falling into disrepair, and was being ruined by the dumping of building materials in a re-landscaping plan.

Members of the course also fell dramatically – once between 400 and 500 people.

But last October Tamworth Council pledged to spend £100,000 on funding a “first class driving range” on the course. Chiefs acknowledged the problems with the state of the course and the lack of progress with promised redevelopments.

Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Councillor Danny Cook, said: “Late on Tuesday evening, the borough council was informed by Tamworth Golf Centre that the company was going into liquidation and a liquidator had been appointed.

“The borough council plans to contact the liquidator at the earliest opportunity. This is in order to ascertain what this means in terms of the process and associated timescales.

“In the meantime, we shall be considering our position and the options available. We will share further information as soon as we can.”

Liquidation is the winding up of a business which will cease operations. Liquidation can be sought even when a business is solvent, while administration is ordered when the company is insolvent.

Are you affected? Contact the newsdesk on 01827 848600 or write to the editor at Tamworth Herald, Ventura Park Road, Tamworth, B78 3LZ, email: heraldletters@cintamworth.co.uk

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9 comments

  • Crocodile_JD  |  February 19 2013, 1:03AM

    The article in The Tamworth Herald on Thursday 14th February concerning the closure of Tamworth Golf Course quoted that while council chiefs were "looking for options" the question was whether retaining the golf course was "the best use of the asset" when taking the council's financial situation into consideration. I was finally spurred on to writing this letter having just watched Tamworth being the main feature as a prime example of a town with major obesity problems in the debate over taxation on fizzy drinks (ITV's National News, Monday 18th February at 18:35) It was quoted that Tamworth had one of the highest obesity rates in the country with as many as 1 in 3 people being obese! How is it then that we are driven to the point where we are debating the future, indeed the very existence of this great outdoor sporting facility in light of the obesity crisis that is at the top of our National News? I ask what better use is there for this "asset", once one of the top Municipal Golf Courses in the country, than to reinstate it to the golf course it once was. Walking is regarded as one of the best exercises in combating obesity, typically one can walk up to 5 miles in completing a round of golf. I see no reason why the course could not be opened up to all walkers. There are many examples of this. For instance a great number of seaside Lynx Golf Courses are permanently open to walkers and many other courses have public footpaths going through them such as The PGA National course, the Belfry. When I first heard of the council's decision to award Jack Barker Golf Company the lease for running the course, it only took me five minutes on Google to know that it was heading for disaster. By then Jack Barker Golf Company had already left a trail of damaged and failing courses in its wake. The woe that had befallen Basildon Golf Course was already widely documented. What I have never understood given how easy it was for me to find this information is why Tamworth Council apparently did not. To add insult to injury, despite Jack Barker Golf Company's flagrant disregard for the terms of the lease, it has taken the council years to finally put a stop to the waste dumping shenanigans. In my opinion it was inevitable that once the curtain was brought down on the operation there would be nothing left for the company responsible and that they would find a way out one way or another leaving the council once again with the hot potato in their hands! The council will likely claim that the course had not been making money for a long time before Jack Barker Golf was handed the lease. That may be so but we all know that to make a success of any venture you have to speculate to accumulate. As a long time golfer at Tamworth it was evident to me that Tamworth Golf Course has not been at its best for many years. I remember back when Barry Jones was the Professional, when the course had dedicated greens staff and equipment, people would travel from miles around and queue for many hours just to play the course. It is all too easy to see where this might go now given Council Leader Danny Cook's comments in the Herald that "When looking into the options available to us, we must also take our priorities and current financial situation into account". Anyway, the case for recreational/sporting facilities and their importance to social well being has long since been made by scholars and philosophers far more intellectual than I am. I would simply ask what these priorities really are that the Council Chief talks about? Do they include supporting our amenities and helping tackle the obesity crisis? Or do they centre on increasing housing capacity that will help spin Tamworth into yet deeper gridlock?

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  • pongo2013  |  February 14 2013, 12:46AM

    With this debacle that gone on for some six years and ruined a perfectly good golf course, How can the council cabinet resonsible maintain credability, when they have known for at least three years that there was no capital investment from this company as stated within the so called business plan ie, driving range ,extension/refurbishment to club house, green keepers storage etc. How come this company was looked on so favourably, with reduced rents, rates, offer of a loan of £100,000.00 then moving on with the money from the tipping!! IS THERE NOT A GOOD INVESTAGATIVE JOURNALIST IN OUR MEDIA TO BRING INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN JUST WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON AT THIS VENUE.

    |   6
  • adeyboy2006  |  February 07 2013, 3:43PM

    what a sad day for tamworth golf club,at one time it was one of the best municipal golf courses around, i cant believe tamworth council let it go like this, it was obvious to everyone who was involved in the club could see how it was being ruined by jack barker,we can only blame tamworth council for this, you only had to look on the web sites to see what he had done to other courses around the area,we could see it so why didnt they. where has all the money gone for all the tipping on the course, not a single penny was put back into the course, myself i played there for over thirty years with my dad and brothers but over the past couple of years we had to play elsewhere just to get a decent game of golf, its hard to take when you see a company destroying it the way they did and the council not stepping in until it was too late. lets hope someone can bring it back to what it used to be like,i would certainly love playing golf there again and i know alot more old members would do aswell. a great shame.

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  • Stoko  |  February 07 2013, 11:49AM

    This is very sad news indeed!! Can we now look forward to the immediate resignation of the Tamworth Council officials who were responsible for recommending to give this company a lease to run the golf course??

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  • PDH2013  |  February 07 2013, 10:23AM

    Frustrating and sad are the words that come to mind. I received the email yesterday from the club. I play this course almost every week, and being an avid golfer have made it my "home from home". Tamworth has not been turned into a money spinning spa/fitness centres, where you have a feeling that no one cares about you, as long as you pay. It has has got by on good old fashioned friendlyness of staff and members that give you the feeling that you belong at the club, something that will sadly be missed. If I had the cash I would buy the club and turn it into one if not the best municipals in the midlands, something it used to be years ago may I add, before Jack Barker runined it !!!, this company as CllrChris said, are like locust, they come destroy the land/business it resides on, then leave! Whats happening to the 100K the council were going to spend on the range? surley that can be relocated to the course/club to get it up to shape and get it back on track, a couple of practice nets would suffice for most people in the interim to get the club back up and running. Maybe a group of vounteers to keep it in shape (green keeping/fees etc?) We need to fight to keep our beloved course!!! but how...? thats the question? .... Yes it needs a little TLC in places, but the potential is still there, along with the heratage... One Sad (but not giving up) member !!

    |   14
  • Achiepop  |  February 06 2013, 8:37PM

    Mark my words - it wont be long before the Castle is sold off. You heard it here first!

    |   13
  • Achiepop  |  February 06 2013, 8:36PM

    Mr Cooke, I am complete agreement with you. A cynical man could argue that this is the result that certain persons within Marmion House wanted. What WONT happen is anything in the way of affordable housing - oh No! not a chance! But, just like with Peaks (which let us remember, this council sold off to a dodgy company and then had to find a rescuer for), TBC will have an excuse up their sleeve such as "we tried eveythign to help, we offerred financial support, it's not our fault, the other boys did it sir'. Thing is, the people of Tamworth voted these clowns in. And what happens when you vote clown? You get custard in your face.

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  • CllrChris  |  February 06 2013, 7:16PM

    In the past this Jack Barker company has land-filled golf courses, failed to pay rents, taken hundreds of thousands of other local councils' money, then cut and run. Here's just one article about this company that can be found on the internet. http://tinyurl.com/a934asb This Jack Barker company is a disgrace. Tamworth's Golf Course lies in ruins, it's membership decimated, staff have had to sit by in helpless despair watching this happen. They've pocketed Council (our!!) money and their promises have come to zilch. Info about Jack Barker was easy enough to find. Alarm bells have been ringing loud enough. How could the Council have not been aware? Why did they do it? Or perhaps the Council is secretly pleased because now the Golf Course is ruined they can use the land to sardine-in to Tamworth ever more new houses? More New Homes Bonuses. More Council tax income. More spending and empire building inside Marmion House. Won't somebody make it stop? I despair!!

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  • Achiepop  |  February 06 2013, 5:50PM

    Such a shame that this is happening, but, given the fiasco surrounding the course for the last five years, I'm not surprised. This is just another PEAKS - the council saw a quick way out of an obligation to provide a service for the people of Tamworth, didn't think and jumped in with both feet. The members of the course have been screaming about this happening for years - and now it has. I'd put money on there being NO rescue package, and that within the next 2 years, there's a housing development on the land. Not houses that normal everyday people in Tamworth can afford to buy or rent, but private houses out of the reach of most. And the money? Well that's another story isnt it? People of Tamworth - you voted these clowns in, even after they had given away Peaks, and with it your chance to swim for free for your children, now they've given away another of the towns 'crown jewels'. Sad.

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