Golfers left baffled by closure of Highley course

Mystery surrounds the closure of a golf club in Shropshire after members turned up for a round – only to be told by a party of duck hunters to get off the land.

Golfers left baffled by closure of Highley course

Mystery surrounds the closure of a golf club in Shropshire after members turned up for a round – only to be told by a party of duck hunters to get off the land.

The clubhouse at Severn Meadows in Highley, near Bridgnorth, has been closed since club professional and steward Noel Woodman left six weeks ago. Talks on its future were due to be held with the landowner in December.

Members who had paid £400 each in June for annual membership complained about hundreds of ducks appearing on the course around the end of October.

But members claim that landowner Andrew Maiden, who was unavailable for comment today, did not turn up at the meeting and was currently on holiday in Australia.

Colin Harrison, who was club secretary from 1992 to 2009, said: "The owner was supposed to turn up at the AGM but didn't. Since then no-one's had a clue what's going on.

"People paid their memberships in June and feel they should be able to play on it. They were told in no uncertain terms by the shooters the course was closed and they should clear off.

"About six weeks ago the steward Noel Woodman said he was leaving and nothing's happened since."

A board of directors took over running the club in 2006 after putting together a package but a subsequent drop in membership threatened the course until professional Mr Woodman took over the reins. The club's website still says Mr Woodman is in charge.

The club, which has a licensed bar serving snacks and meals and a function room, was set up in 1990 by Mr Maiden's father, Fred, as a nine-hole course. Mr Harrison said another nine holes were added in 1997.

He added: "It started life with mostly people from the village and there were probably about 220 to 230 members. It never really grew, though, and membership stayed at around the same mark before it began to fall as competition grew with other courses being created."

Honorary life member and former club captain Jim Marshall said: "It's a very confusing situation because we're not sure who's running it."

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