Donnington Valley Golf Club in Berkshire is scrapping its membership scheme to become a pay-and-play only venue.
The Vineyard Group, the parent company that owns the Newbury-based club, has blamed the coronavirus crisis for costing the overall business millions of pounds in revenue. Consequently it said it is no longer able to support the club’s finances with funds from hotel guests and corporate events.
Company flagship The Vineyard Hotel and Spa is currently open on a part-time basis, while the Donnington Valley Hotel remains closed.
Writing in a letter sent to club members, Andrew McKenzie, managing director of The Vineyard Group, said: “Due to the catastrophic impact on the company’s finances caused by Covid-19, the company has decided they are no longer able to provide that support in the future. Their focus has to be on preserving the future of the overall business and its workforce, which is under severe threat.”
McKenzie continued: “We have assessed all the options available and have decided that as of July 17, Donnington Valley can no longer run on a membership basis and will revert to exclusively pay-and-play. Members who have pre-paid will receive immediate refunds, with free play extended to August 22 to compensate for the period the club was forced to close. We will review our position over the coming months and investigate all avenues that may enhance golfers’ enjoyment of the facility, including pre-payment with discounted green fees, the ability to offer handicaps and various other options including, potentially, competitions. We aim to conclude this review at the end of September when the full consequences of lockdown are clearer.”
The letter concluded: “I appreciate this will come as a huge shock and disappointment for many of our longstanding and loyal members, but the unprecedented nature of this pandemic and its financial impact, coupled with many members’ reluctance to re-join on the same basis as before, has called for this drastic action.”