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Golf course founder sorry to see venue close
12:03pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in News
A MAN who helped build Belmont Golf Course says it is a great shame that the iconic venue will close for good this weekend.
Bosses at the club, which includes the 30-bedroom Belmont Lodge Hotel, confirmed last month that the final putts will be holed tomorrow (Friday), with the site officially shutting on Saturday.
It was hoped that a group of members would take on the business, but owners Golf Inns Ltd said no deal was made.
The club was opened by James Bond star Sean Connery in May 1983 - a date that William Chichester will never forget.
William owned the site and took it upon himself to build a golf course following his mother's death.
He sought the help of professional golfer Bob Sandow, who set the gears in motions to design the 18-hole course and 80 days later, the course was built.
William's next job was to find someone who could officially open the venue and he knew just the man for the job.
"I worked in the film industry and my partner and myself were extras in Time Bandits, which starred Sean Connery," said William.
"I told him that I was building a golf course and asked if he would open it.
"He said he would do it if he had the time.
"He opened it, with all proceeds going towards the Douglas Bader Foundation, who help limbless people.
"Sean didn't receive a penny."
William added that he picked up Sean from Sunningdale the previous day and the actor stayed at the Green Dragon Hotel.
"There were thousands of people who came along to the opening - the whole weekend was great."
William, who ran the venue until 1985, said that he is hopeful of visiting the course tomorrow (Friday) to say one final goodbye.
"I was very saddened to hear about the closure," said William.
"The house was owned by my family for many years and there was quite a bit of publicity about the course's inception.
"It was never going to be just another golf course, and with its fantastic views of the River Wye it was quite a beautiful venue."
Golf Inns Ltd has said that it will be seeking alternative uses for the land, lodge and Grade II listed Belmont House.
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