Last round at Middleton Park golf course

Earnest Gill (Captain) & Ian Bertie (Chairman)
Earnest Gill (Captain) & Ian Bertie (Chairman)

There was sadness and a dose of gallows humour as members turned out at Middleton Park golf course today (31 October 2014) on the day the course closed.

Back in 1933 former Lord Mayor and Freeman of the City of Leeds, Alderman Sir William Hemingway opened the municipal golf course at Middleton Park. 81 years later his grandson Earnest Gill, who was present at the opening, played the last round using his grandfather’s putter.

I talked to Earnest, the Club Captain, about his memories of the course

“I have many happy memories. We’ve produced some very good golfers at this club and it’s always been a friendly place. It is so sad that Leeds City Council have in their ‘wisdom’ decided to close the course. It would never have happened if it was north of the river.”

Earnest said he would continue playing golf “My wife says I have to!” but he isn’t sure where he will play.

M Buggle, Alan Crossley, Ray Willis & David Flather prepare to tee off for the last time
M Buggle, Alan Crossley, Ray Willis & David Flather prepare to tee off for the last time

Another former Captain Mark Cunliffe was there despite having had knee surgery just three weeks ago.

“I’ll just play a couple of holes, but I had to come” he said “There’ll be a few tears today.”

As previously reported on South Leeds Life, the decision to close the course was taken by the Council’s Executive Board on 17 September in the face of massive budget cuts. Plans are being drawn up to return the course to parkland with funding available to retain a sporting legacy.

3 Replies to “Last round at Middleton Park golf course”

  1. Good piece Jeremy.

    There are other courses so the golfers can still play their game.

    With the government cuts it is now time to decide what services councils should provide.

    Social, educational, housing and upkeep of roads and paths are priorities. I’d rather we provide care for the elderly and vulnerable than prop up unviable sporting facilities.

  2. I was there and I am very sad as a past Captain. I never thought I would see this happen. As the Captain said we are the wrong side of the river, it would never happen in north Leeds. Why not retain the original 9 holes? Where do all those golfers go who can’t manage the hills of the municipal courses left or afford to travel across Leeds? This close was on the cards from 2008 when the council refurbished the club house but never opened in June 2013 as a token gesture which was never going to work as they were never committed to it succeeding
    Past captain, chairman, secretary and current trustee

  3. I too agree with Mr Peter Watts.
    As a past captain and committee member it was a very sad day not only for the members but also all the local public who have played golf at Middleton for many years.
    The council see fit to plough money into carpets shops and Grand Theatre but cannot find the money to serve the local people of South Leeds.
    Staff cost cutting was an excuse but no staff have lost jobs or been made redundant.
    We would have been more than happy to go back to the old 9 hole course but it was never considered.
    This heritage land will soon be a bomb site with burnt out cars and travellers who will relish the place to set up camp.
    And what will the council do about it? NOTHING as usual.

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