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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Golf course fees spark row
Machynys Golf Course
The course at Machynys has been built at a cost of 3.5m
Membership fees at the new Jack Nicklaus golf course in Llanelli have angered some players in the town.

The links at Machynys is set to become one of the top courses in Wales and a big draw for tourists to the region.

But locals say the 780 membership is too costly, especially as more than 1m public money is being used.

Town council leader Carl Lucas has met with the developers to raise concerns and has been promised cheaper packages will be available.

I had a number of complaints from people who play golf in Llanelli and the surrounding areas
Council leader Carl Lucas

The par 72 course cost 3.5m to build and is seen as key to boosting golf in the build up to the 2010 Ryder Cup being held in Wales.

As part of the Millennium Coastal Park development, it has received a 600,000 grant for ground work from the Millennium Commission.

The Wales Tourist Board has given 525,000 towards club house facilities that will include a restaurant, function and conference rooms and health suite.

Already more than 100 people have joined even though the course is yet to open.

Membership is more expensive than some other renowned courses in south Wales such as Ashburnham in Burry Port which charges a 615 joining fee and 505 annual subscription.

However, it is less than half the cost of playing at the Celtic Manor at Newport which will host the Ryder Cup.

Carl Lucas
Carl Lucas said he had received complaints about the fees

Councillor Lucas said: "I had a number of complaints from people who play golf in Llanelli and the surrounding areas who don't pay that sort of membership fee where they play.

"They were concerned that a course they thought was going to be accessible was out of their price range.

"I'm very encouraged with the meeting we've had today."

Managing director of the company behind the venture, Jim Anderson, has defended the prices.

He said: "A course of this calibre can attract anything up to a 10,000 joining fee and 2,000 annual subscription.

Jim Anderson
Jim Anderson says the course exceeds everyone's expectations

"When you consider the significant facilities we've got here apart from the Nicklaus course then 780, I would say, is extremely affordable."

He said there would be cheaper packages that may restrict the times people play but still allow them to have a handicap and enter competitions.

"It's difficult to imagine what more we could do to make it accessible to everyone," he added.

"Only last week we had the Ryder Cup director here and he thought the course was better than he could possibly imagine.

"When Nicklaus is designing a course you know it's going to be of a certain standard but it's exceeded everybody's expectations."




SEE ALSO:
Golf club brings community hope
04 Jun 03  |  South West Wales
Drive for golf tourists
28 Apr 03  |  Wales
Ryder bid 'was upped by 15m'
30 Sep 01  |  Wales


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