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Golf clubs fall prey to clubs like Wigan Athletic and Reading as they splash parachute cash

It might be no co-incidence that the two clubs that have hit the headlines recently for buying up a local golf course are relegated pair, Wigan Athletic and Reading.

Earlier this month Charnock Richard Golf Club in Lancashire, which was built in 1994 on predominantly freehold land and has been operated by the same family since, was put up for auction  with a guide price of £650,000.

FA Cup winners, Wigan bought the club with a view to converting it into a training ground, but immediately released a statement to concerned members and staff at Charnock Richard, saying: ‘Wigan Athletic stress that the golf club will continue to operate as normal during the current golf season and all competitions and fixtures will be honoured.’

However, this weekend, after learning that the course machinery needed to be replaced at a cost of £30,000, Wigan Athletic released a new statement saying that the course and its restaurant will close with immediate effect.

A spokesman said: “It was originally intended for the course to remain open for the duration of the current golf season, however, it has become apparent that the remaining ground maintenance equipment was not in a suitable condition to allow us to maintain the course to an appropriate standard and unfortunately we have no alternative but to close the facilities.

“The decision made is a regrettable one, but one that has been made after much consideration.

“We apologise to members for any inconvenience that has resulted from the cessation of trade of the previous company.

“The land and property has been purchased to develop football academy facilities subject to future planning permission, and any questions members have regarding membership or restaurant and clubhouse bookings should be directed to the golf course operating company, Hole in One Golf Club Limited.”

It was reported in June that Reading has agreed a deal with a charity to buy Bearwood Golf Club so that it can be converted into a training facility.

Bearwood is a 38-year-old nine-hole golf course owned by the trustees of the charity the Royal Merchant Navy School Foundation.

The Reading Evening Post reported that thegolf  club have agreed a deal in principle with the football club, to buy the ground and convert it into a training facility.

Presently the club has nine training pitches, but it is believed to want at least 17 plus space for a larger number of changing rooms and other facilities, which it cannot get from its current location in Arborfield, Berkshire.

The deal is subject to planning permission, which the football club has not yet applied for.

Reading FC’s chief executive Nigel Howe said: “We are striving to improve all aspects of the football club and have agreed in principle  a contract with Bearwood to purchase land and build a new training ground, subject to planning permission.'



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