Golfers cry 
foul as city set to close two courses

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Golf enthusiasts are up in arms after it emerged that two historic Leeds courses are set to shut for good in a matter of weeks.

Leeds City Council officers have recommended that Middleton Park and Gotts Park golf courses close on October 31, paving the way for both sites to be turned into parkland.

Both courses, which were founded in the 1930s, were given a year-long reprieve in late 2012 so the authority could explore other ways to manage them but up until now that search has proven “fruitless”.

If approved by the council’s executive board on Wednesday, the Middleton Park course will be transformed into 42 hectares of semi-natural parkland with help from a £74,000 investment while members at Gotts Park Golf Club have the chance to manage their course. If the Armley-based club can’t deliver a suitable business plan it will be turned into Benjamin Gott Country Park.

Golfers claim the council has not done enough to promote the courses to new players, adding that both facilities have been left to deteriorate. Ian Bertie, chairman of Middleton Park Golf 
Club, said the club had lost a third of its membership since the course was first earmarked for closure.

He added: “It will be the end of an era. Once it’s closed it will never reopen. We all know it’s going to be a loss leader but at the end of the day it’s providing a service for the people of Leeds and particularly south Leeds.”

Mr Bertie suggested the council’s two remaining courses, in Roundhay and Temple Newsam, could be next in line to close.

Coun Mark Dobson, the council’s executive member for communities, said: “It is simply unsustainable to carry on as before.

“It is because of this reason that we have asked the executive board to recommend that both golf courses close.”