Swinton Park Golf Club in Salford has closed for good after 94 years due to financial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The golf club, which first opened for play in 1926, shut last week following a disagreement between owners and members at a Salford City Council meeting over plans to sell it to developers.
Controversy surrounds the sale of the land, which is being targeted by developers and house builders.
As recently as 2017, the club was saved by 22 members with contributions of more than £1 million. One member even donated £700,000.
A spokesperson for ‘Save Swinton Golf Club’ said: “What we are trying to achieve at Save Swinton Park is to ensure the future of the golf club and the land surrounding it.”
“We would like to thank all our members and the community for their support during this time and hopefully we can welcome you all back to our beloved park one day soon.”
Member of Save Swinton Golf Club, Helen Leigh, said: “It’s a beautiful area, lots of trees and good for the environment. Is it necessary to ruin all this just to make a few rich?
“The East Lancs and Lancaster road are already a nightmare at rush hour, this development will make it a lot worse. Let’s just hope somebody listens for once.
“Swinton Park is a haven for not only golfers but local wildlife and greenery and we at Save Swinton are aiming to keep it that way!”
Former member of the golf club, Arthur Whitworth said: “I believe this to be outrageous it will affect wildlife.
“The congestion on the roads will be even worse than it is now they talk about congestion charges to stop air pollution but it will add to this and the loss of all the green land and trees.
“I wonder if the owners of Bellway homes would like it where they live.”
Developers should be prioritising brown field sites in Salford, not our green spaces. I’ve urged housing group to ‘withdraw its offer’ to buy historic Swinton golf club https://t.co/XkvrKjRG4K
— Rebecca Long-Bailey (@RLong_Bailey) February 18, 2020
As a member of Swinton Park Golf Club Manchester which closed in September 6 years short of its centenary it is depressing that the owners of the course found the prospect of selling for housing development more enticing than taking advantage of the golf boom.
— Mike Stanfield (@MikeStanfield14) November 17, 2020
Your Housing Group, which owns more than 30,000 homes, had recently pulled out of purchasing a Salford golf club site for development after it was found “viable” for the sport, in line with an agreement with the council.
However, it is now thought that a number of housing developers are ready to bid for the right to build on this greenbelt.
Brief history of Swinton Golf Club
The club first opened its doors on 12 May 1926.
The Daily Dispatch reported on that day:
“Although only a few minutes walk from the main Bolton-Manchester road at Irlams O’th’Height, one could almost imagine, on the course, that one was in the heart of the country.”
The famous golfer/course designer James Braid personally oversaw the planning and construction of the private parkland course. The 6,726 yard-course quickly became popular and renowned as one of the longest and best courses in the North-West.
Swinton Park became the champion club in the whole of England in 1970s, after winning the Manchester and District Alliance Dunham Forest Trophy in back-to-back years.
Before its closure, the additional facilities such as the restaurant and function rooms played host to many community events.