GARNANT Golf Club members whose club went into liquidation in the New Year are teeing up to run their own affairs.
The executive board of club owners, Carmarthenshire County Council, are backing the membership after an approach from them to continue running the Black Mountain back-clothed spectacular course.
Members unanimously approved the transfer to the members, and part of the decision was that an annual report would go before the executive board to keep them informed.
Council executive board member for leisure and regeneration Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “We have had to be decisive taking this decision before disillusioned members started defecting to other clubs while the future of their own course was in jeopardy or doubt.”
Club captain Tony Falvey said: “We are both excited and delighted to be given this glorious opportunity. We have a determined 170-strong membership we will grow to ensure the sustainable life of this wonderful golf course.
“Our aim is to benefit and enhance opportunity in our own community and in Carmarthenshire and for golf in Wales generally.”
Garnant members could take on the facility later this month on broadly the same terms as those previously agreed in 2011 with Wrexham based Clays Golf Ltd who went into liquidation three years into a 25-year lease in January. There will be no cost to council ratepayers as they will be operating with no subsidy.
The council’s executive board agreed on Monday to the community asset transfer to Garnant Park Members Golf Club subject to certain legal conditions.
County head of leisure services Ian Jones explained to the executive board the four options were to lease the facility to Garnant Park members; the council operate the club again; to retender the facility or to close the golf club.
The 18-hole golf club, created as part of a land reclamation and local regeneration scheme pre-local government reorganisation 1996, was being operated by Garnant Golf Club with Clays Golf as guarantor. It has been handed back by the liquidator to the county council.
Before 2011 the council ran the golf club at an annual cost varying between £150-250k annually. Several attempts were made to tender the club until Clays stepped in with a strong commitment to golf development and community links.
Mr Jones told the executive board: “It was hugely disappointing that despite regular meetings, Clays had failed to communicate with the authority, the facility users, or their staff in the last few weeks of their operation, to highlight their financial predicament.
“There was a difficult period of uncertainly for all until a liquidator was appointed and a creditors meeting was held (January 12th). At this meeting the liquidator decided to disclaim (terminate) the lease.
The council is pursuing with Clays and the liquidators some elements of monies owing and implications of the Local Investment Fund paid to them for clubhouse improvements and some equipment purchase.
The council is running the facility with skeleton staffing to ensure that, leading into the golfing season, the club is able to continue running as a going concern and avoid the risk of current and potential members being forced to join other clubs.