Middleton Park Golf Course – “Use it or lose it!”


Middleton Golf Course. Photo: Steve Williamson
Middleton Park Golf Course
Photo: Steve Williamson

The subject of Middleton Park Golf Course, which is currently under a 12 month reprieve from closure, came up at this week’s Area Committee.

In response to a question from a local resident at the meeting on Wednesday, Cllr Paul Truswell said:

“It’s important that a business plan is produced that reduces the deficit in the course. It’s use it or lose it!”

He stated that it was hoped that introducing catering at the club house would help to make the venue more attractive and that it was essential if the course were to remain open that more people played golf.

Cllr Kim Groves added:

“The Council is subsidising every round of golf by £10”

and indicated that this couldn’t continue given other priorities and the financial pressure on the Council.

In response to a suggestion from a resident that it would be good to hold an open meeting about the issue there was some reluctance to do so at this point; it was noted that South Leeds Life had publicised the issue.

Cllr Angela Gabriel, who had earlier in the meeting been re-elected Chair of the Area Committee, stated that the issue was important not only to Middleton Park ward but also to residents of other parts of South Leeds and was invited by Middleton Park councilors to attend a meeting of the small group working on the future of the course to be held next week.

10 Replies to “Middleton Park Golf Course – “Use it or lose it!””

  1. I would ask the councillors to close the course as soon as possible, and sell of any of the others they own (if possible).

  2. Keep it, market it and continue to allow walkers access to walk around it. I do not want it sold off to become housing etc

  3. Thanks for your comments, John and Richard – appreciated.

    A few years ago the Council tried to sell off its courses and could only get a buyer for the course at Rothwell which became part of the Oulton Hall hotel. One of the problems is that there are currently too many golf courses chasing too small a market so the private sector is (very) unlikely to be interested.

    I don’t think there’s any chance of it becoming housing because it would not get planning permission. Half of the course – the old part – is on land owned by Wade’s Charity ,which exists to promote public open space.

    My own view – for what it’s worth – is that the course is not properly marketed and with a few changes and a more commercial attitude plus some continued subsidy from the Council – t least in the short term – it could become viable.

    I have some questions on how the Council does its sums regarding the course. If it ceases to be a golf course it will still incur some costs maintaining it as parkland – it’s suggested option – but it will have no income whatsoever as it will sacrifice all the golf course income…

    1. Some interesting points Steve. Marketing etc costs money, something that will probably, at least in the short term, require continued subsidy. Something I can’t support. It would be great if people who want the golf corse pursued a community run approach, maintaining the course themselves etc.

  4. Thanks John for your comment and I can appreciate your view re subsidy. However, even if there is no course it will cost the Council money to maintain the area as parkland so perhaps not unreasonable to use the money instead to give the course a chance for a viable future.

    The lack of an open discussion about the future of the golf course makes exploring the community run approach difficult. My understanding is that the golf club doesn’t have many members who have the time to run the course. It also requires expertise to maintain the course and I’m not sure if that is available on a voluntary basis which is sustainable although I’d agree it’s an option that should be explored.

  5. The problem you’ve got is that it’s been currently council run. Given their track record in the maintenance of white elephants and taking good services and running them into the ground the current situation is no suprise. They’ve failed to market this facility and if I’ve heard right, spent thousands putting a bar in the club house that had to be mothballed as they didn’t bother making sure it was compliant with their own fire safety regulations with fire exits etc.

    Get some community ownership in there and intelligent management and it could be turned round into a very sustainable enterprise.

  6. Just commenting on Derek Waldock’s comments on a blog where comments have now closed.

    I have played Middleton Park Golf course 3 times in the last ten days and even in that time I have noticed the deterioration in greens. Some are nearly unplayable and although I appreciate that the course is subject to vandalism I don’t think that is the problem they need treatment.

    The course which could be really top notch is suffering from a lack of investment over a long period which leads in turn to fewer players and then less investment still etc. While I very much appreciate that times are hard for the Council now, the lack of investment pre-dates this and there is a serious risk of what was an asset becoming a liability because of the Council’s failure to maintain it properly.

  7. Temple Newsam has two courses. Why not simply close one of them to fund Middleton?
    Granted, Middleton maybe running at a loss but this is simply due to lack of improvement and security at the course. Many people don’t like leaving their cars there for them to be vandalised or stolen. The balance needs to be right. I’d happily pay more to play on a better, safer course within ten minutes of home, not the other side of Leeds. The courses ring fenced for closure are both on one side while the other three are on the other side. Temple Newsam and Roundhay seem to be looked after a lot better than Middleton and Gotts Park. No wonder they run at a loss. Lowering the price won’t attract players, improving the courses and raising costs in accordance will.

  8. I doubt if losing a course at Temple Newsam would be sufficient to pay for Middleton. Running two 18 hole courses at one venue will be considerably less than twice the cost of running one 18 hole course.

    Over the past twelve months I have played a lot at Middleton and never suffered from car vandalism. I would agree the course needs investment, particularly on the greens. I think the present prices are cheap and the special offers currently being run to coincide with major tournaments are mistaken. Some modest increase in prices plus investment in the course is what needed coupled with some serious attempts at marketing the course and maximising its facilities.

  9. Played a round at Middleton this afternoon and just wanted to say the course was in much better condition. There was some light rough as well as jungle so missing the fairway slightly wasn’t punished by loss of ball in a foot of undergrowth the bunkers had been raked and the greens were much improved.

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