A PLAN to ensure that Rochdale’s Marland Golf Course can stay open is set to swing into action next month after the council agreed to support a takeover plan put forward by two local businessmen.
The much-loved 18-hole course will be run by popular local golf professional Andrew Terry and his business partner, Joe Jackson, for 12 months.
The course is owned by Rochdale Borough Council and has been run by its leisure provider Link4Life for a number of years. But following a series of severe government cuts since 2010 the council reluctantly signalled that it could no longer support the facility.
A takeover plan submitted by the pair hit the rough when it was deemed unviable by the council in the long-term. But it got back onto the fairway after a meeting where it was explained why the plan had gone off course. During the meeting Andrew and Joe provided new assurances, which led to the council making an offer for the pair to run the course for a year, which was accepted.
The revised plan has now been agreed by councillors – putt-ing Marland back on course.
Joe Jackson, new finance director at Marland Golf Course, said: “We’d like to thank Rochdale Council and Link4Life for their support in finding a way to keep this fantastic facility open for the community as a whole. It is a really forward thinking pathway to let the third sector help the council in keeping places like this operating, under the constant financial pressures the council face.
“We are delighted we have played our part in keeping Marland Golf Course open, however this is only the start and the hard work starts now. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received and we want to encourage everyone to come and use the facilities to make sure it is the family friendly, thriving, community hub we want to create.”
The club will be reaching out to local schools and charities offering free membership and coaching for children, and attracting new people to the sport with beginners “Get into Golf” sessions.
Joe and Andrew, who will be the director of golf at the course, plan to improve the course and facilities with a new coffee shop for park users and golfers to enjoy. The club are looking for sponsorship and seeking local businesses and individuals to get involved in keeping the course and facilities running.
The pair has set up a Community Interest Company which will take over the running of the course from 1 April and there will be plenty of opportunity for the community to play their part in making the course a success story.
CAPTION: Andrew Terry, Cllr Janet Emsley and Cllr Allen Brett