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.
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.