07:00 Wednesday 06 February 2013

In the rough - golf course to close after 41 years

Written byTIM FLETCHER

A BURTON golf course is to close after more than 40 years of existence – after its owner said its financial future was ‘unsustainable’.

The 18-hole course at The Craythorne, in Craythorne Road, Rolleston, will shut down on March 31, although the adjoining pub, restaurant, floodlit driving range and hair salon will remain open.

Owner Tony Wright blamed factors including ‘Government mismanagement of the economy’, tax issues and bad weather for the demise of the course he has run since 1995.

In a letter sent to members, a copy of which was passed to the Mail, Mr Wright said: “As you are only too well aware, the golf operation has been losing money for the past four years and has been funded at my personal cost.

“This situation cannot be allowed to continue as there seems to be little chance of matters improving in the next few years using the current financial model.

“The golf course is simply financially unsustainable. It has taken 20 years of my business life and whilst many may look to be negative, much was achieved in that time.”

The Craythorne was founded in 1972 as a small driving range with associated cafe, expanded into a nine-hole golf course two years later and an 18-hole course in 1984.

The business was taken over by Burton firm R Peach & Co in 1993, with Mr Wright taking over ownership of the site after staging a management buyout two years later.

In 2011, the business, which had an annual turnover of more than half a million pounds – two thirds of which was generated by food and drink sales - was put up for sale for a guide price of £1.15 million, but failed to attract a buyer.

At the time, the firm handling the sale said it had been prompted by the fact its owner planned to retire and relocate abroad.

However, in his letter to members, Mr Wright said his company planned to reopen the course as a nine-hole facility - ‘when and if funds allow’.

He added: “I would like to personally thank the small band of committed members over the last 20 years for their support, and I know that if they had been joined fully by others, this situation may not have arisen.”

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