Entrepreneur’s £320,000 deal saved 125-year-old golf club

Leeds Golf Club

Members at Leeds Golf Club will continue to play through its 125th summer after an entrepreneur paid £320,000 to save the club, TheBusinessDesk.com can reveal.

The Roundhay club, which lays claim to being home to the oldest trophy in professional golf, faced closure after failing to find a buyer earlier in the year.

However Kirk Andrews, who already owns Overstone Park in Northampton, was able to agree a deal that was executed through a pre-pack administration.

Andrews made his money with Acklam Car Centre, a high-end dealership in Middlesbrough he founded in 2001 with his brother Chris.

The administrators said the pre-pack deal has generated a “significant sum” for the lease, which could have been forfeited. It also secured the jobs of the 10 staff, enables existing suppliers the opportunity to continue to trade with the club, and “allow the members to continue to play golf”.

The Roundhay golf club’s future had been uncertain for several years.

In 2002 it paid £1.17m to buy out its £4,000-a-year ground rent – a debt that has been an albatross for the members in the years since, with the club surviving on members’ donations.

A sale had become necessary in early 2020, but the company structure meant that all 380 members had to approve any sale.

In late May, two months into lockdown, a solvent sale was no longer possible. The club was struggling to survive until membership renewals were due on July 1, and there were concerns about it being able to afford to keep the course open for the full year of membership.

A deal was agreed with Kirk Andrews in June, under the protection of two notice of intention to appoint administrators and following lengthy negotiations with Leeds City Council about the lease.

It was completed after the club appointed Lee Lockwood and Bob Maxwell from Begbies Traynor as joint administrators, which also meant avoiding the need to get the unanimous approval of members.

Secured creditor Clydesdale Bank will receive the £201,000 it is owed but unsecured creditors who are owed a similar sum will receive nothing.

The club’s articles say any full member over 25 should contribute five guineas to the failure, which is about £1.05.

“However, as this is approximately £250 and the cost of pursing would be significantly more, we do not intend to pursue,” the administrators said. “Moreover, many have bar credits exceeding this.”