Opinion: Open letter to Maidenhead Golf Club

Gavin Ames, Advertiser columnist

If you decided to vote for the council proposal, as 219 of you did last week (only 43 against), to leave your golf course and effectively give the council the green light to cover it with houses, I wonder if you would be so kind as to answer one simple question that is baffling me in the town: Why?

You are lucky enough to play on a course with copses of established trees and one which is a popular hangout for deer.

Why would you decide you want this green ‘lung’ of the town centre to be bulldozed down and houses to be built there instead?

You have paved the way for your beautifully tended grassy fairways to be turned into tarmac.

I am sure you have some reasons and the £16m from RBWM will no doubt have been a factor in your decision.

What do you want done with this money? There seem to be three options that I can see.

Firstly, are you hoping they will divvy up the cash between the members, which I expect is what many of you are eagerly anticipating, salivating at the thought of a nice ‘free’ all expenses paid holiday and a new kitchen.

Golf club members tend to be relatively well off and this money is unlikely to be needed for essentials but we are all guilty of greed from time to time.

However, a MGC member has told me that part of the constitution of MGC is 'to provide golf', which suggests that they should move to new premises with the windfall.

This you may do in one of two ways.

You could buy an existing golf club, like Winter Hill or Bird Hills for instance.

Whilst this may seem like a relatively straightforward solution, what happens then to all the people who enjoy those facilities now?

The third and final solution I can see is that you buy a new plot of land and develop it into a golf course.

This creates many difficulties, however.

You would assume that the membership is drawn from a radius of a circle around Maidenhead. So where could this new course be?

Whichever way it moves from its current location, it is going to make it further away so less accessible for some.

More significantly though, you can’t just buy a plot of land and magically, hey presto, turn it into a golf course overnight, particularly if you want one of any quality.

MGC’s site is 150 acres so imagine the work involved and the time that would need to elapse for trees to mature and for the course to develop.

To me this is the least abhorrent of the three alternatives, but why would your members vote to move out of a fine looking course, in favour of hitting woods and irons in a massive field?

There really must be something that I am missing.

Perhaps RBWM have MGC by the short and curlies with the threat of compulsory purchase?

Something has made more than 80 per cent of you think that sticking your clubs in the boot and driving away forever is really the best solution.

So please, I ask the 219 of you, one more time, to please explain what were your reasons?

This is just so the people who live amongst you can understand why you would vote for more traffic and an even more overstretched infrastructure.

It makes little sense to me.

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