HS2 and extra housing could have saved doomed golf course – but they’re not being built soon enough

Terry Benwell (left) and Bill Mazzetta - directors of Aylesbury Golf Centre at Bierton - pictured at the driving range which is staying opening dispite the course closing down.
Terry Benwell (left) and Bill Mazzetta - directors of Aylesbury Golf Centre at Bierton - pictured at the driving range which is staying opening dispite the course closing down.
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The Aylesbury Golf Centre in Bierton closed its 18-hole course after 22 years as it was losing money due to a lack of members.

HS2, which will obliterate the rival Aylesbury Park Golf Club in Fairford Leys and the building of 2,450 homes in Bierton would likely have driven more members to the club, but directors said they simply couldn’t afford to hang on.

Club co-owner Terry Benwell designed and opened the course with Bill Mazzetta in 1991 and said closing it was the hardest decision of his life.

Mr Benwell said: “The problem with Aylesbury is there’s too much golf in the town for the population.

“We have never had enough members at the club. We had 140 members and needed 250 to break even.

“The irony is HS2 will probably take out Aylesbury Park Golf Club and with the growing population there probably won’t be enough golf in the town.

“If we could have survived for another five or 10 years there would have been those houses and we might have got enough members. It would have been absolutely perfect. But we just couldn’t do it.”

The course had been on the market since last June but the directors were unable to find a buyer and the site is now expected to return to agriculture or another leisure use.

Though the course has closed, the site will still be used.

The popular driving range is to undergo a makeover in the next month, with new targets and ball machines introduced.

Bob’s Barn is also still going, with Martin White and Amanda Cove, who run the Bell pub in Bierton, taking it over.

The couple hope to promote the barn as a conference centre and wedding and party venue, although people will still be able to come in for a meal and a drink.

Mr White said: “It’s a beautiful building but it was not being used to its full potential.”

There are also plans for a beer festival and village day at the end of May.