Donnington Valley ceases to be a Golf Club – from “Newbury Today” dated 8th July 2020

DONNINGTON Valley Golf Club is scrapping its membership scheme to become a ‘pay and play’ venue.

Company chiefs blame the coronavirus crisis for costing the parent business millions of pounds in revenue.

Consequently they say they are no longer able to prop up the club’s finances with cash from hotel guests and corporate events.

The managing director of parent company The Vineyard Group, Andrew McKenzie, said in a letter to club members: “Due to the catastrophic impact on the company’s finances caused by Covid-19, the owners and directors of the company have 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.”

Company flagship The Vineyard hotel and spa is currently open on a part-time basis, while the Donnington Valley Hotel remains closed.

Mr 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.

The letter added: “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.

“When the results of this are published, the temporary green fees discount will be discontinued and replaced by any schemes we introduce at that point.”

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.”

Mr McKenzie added: “It’s a very sad day as many golfers have been loyal members here for a very long time and will miss the social and competitive nature of club golf.

“The profitability of the course was compromised pre-Covid due to prices not increasing in line with costs and was being underwritten by the company’s other businesses.

“The pandemic has badly affected our ability to continue to do this and we needed to try a different model or face the possibility of closing the course.

“The decision was fast-tracked when many of our existing members decided not to renew their annual subscription at the beginning of July.

“Our plan is to review our options over the summer and launch a new model in the autumn, but we thought it was only fair to be upfront with our members and offer those that had paid subscriptions a full refund.

“Members were also upset about missing out on playing time when we were told by the Prime Minister to close the course, so we are allowing them to play free of charge for the same number of days as they lost.

“Additionally,  we are offering them up to 33 per cent off green fees moving forward.

“In the meantime, we are hoping for fine weather in the summer that will give new golfers the opportunity to try Donnington Valley Golf Course.”



I hope you are all managing to get some golf in despite the never-ending wet conditions.

Further to my email of 4th January, and prior to the 1st of our ‘real’ Castaways monthly meets (proposed for April – September), I have now arranged an initial get together round of golf at West Berks Golf Club ( for Thursday 5th March, 1st tee time @ 10:00am (arrival from 9:00am). The cost for a round of golf, tea/coffee and bacon bap on arrival and sandwiches and chips after the game will be £20 (£8 for West Berks members). The Course is in relatively good condition considering the amount of rain we have had but let’s hope we have better weather leading up to March.

Should you wish to join us there will be 2 ways of paying:

  1. By cheque made out to ‘Carswell Seniors’ and sent to Brian Reid, Orchard End, Hanney Road, Southmoor, Abingdon, OX13 5HT, or,
  2. By bank transfer to: Richard Tucker, TSB account: 04978962, sort code: 77-23-05, quoting reference “Your Surname/West Berks” (this will then be fully transferred into the Carswell Seniors account)

Please reply to this email address with your intention to play and the method of payment as per the above.

We will have prizes as usual – 1st, 2nd & 3rd + nearest pin (11th) and longest drive (16th) plus the winner will also take home the coveted “Fat Scotsman” Trophy 😉

We now have 55 signed up members to the Castaways plus 2 more that we are waiting for their forms and payment but as this is our 1st get together I’m unsure of the numbers we will get for this game so would appreciate early replies so I can give the numbers to West Berks, therefore, the closing date will be 21st February.

We do hope you can join us for this next stage of our seniors golf.

Best regards

Brian Reid

The Death of Carswell Golf Club (after Heraclitus)

They told me, Carswell Golf Club, they told me you’d gone bust –

My twenty five years membership’s been blown away like dust.

I grieve as I remember how twice a week or more

I played with high ambition – but an even higher score.

I’m having nightmares nightly about rewilding the course – 

I see badgers chipping hedgehogs to greens submerged in gorse –

But long may Carswell Seniors, the Castaways, convene

For golf, and at the nineteenth hole, for toasts to what has been.

Mark Baker (with apologies to Callimachus and William Johnson Cory)

Draft Minutes of Seniors Committee – 3rd October 2019

Present:   Richard Tucker (Captain)
Brian Reid ( Vice Captain)
Peter Ellen (Treasurer)
Terry Clark (Match Secretary)
By Invitation:-
 Bob Howard (Away Day Secretary)
Tony Dyet (Club Handicap Secretary)
Peter Pitts (Past Treasurer)
1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE Apologies received from John Ordish (Secretary) and Bill Baker (Competitions Secretary)
2. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING The Minutes were taken as read and confirmed.
Current Situation. D&C Golf Ltd , the Carswell Management company, is going into voluntary liquidation and has ceased trading. Its liabilities considerably exceed its assets. It’s lease of the course and buildings has reverted to Gerry Lisi but he appears to have decided not to reopen the Club.  The Club for all intents and purposes no longer exists.  The members appear to have accepted this and many are joining other Clubs.  A meeting with the Mens Section Committee achieved nothing.  TD is finding out how to transfer Carswell handicaps to other clubs and will inform members if there are any problems.
The Future. The Captain reported that a vast number of Seniors have said they want to retain links with each other and the best way to do this is to form a Golf Society. Everyone concurred with this proposal.
5. NEED FOR GENERAL MEETING. Because the membership is so spread it seemed impractical to hold a General Meeting and all matters requiring members’ approval is to be put to them by way of an email vote.
6. FINANCIAL APPRAISAL AND RECOVERY OF SENIORS ASSETS. The Treasurer is to assess the total assets of the Seniors that include cash, money at bank, pa system, camera, laptop, printer, bench.  RT and BR are to attend Carswell Friday 4th October to retrieve trophies. There are unresolved problems about what to do with the trophies if we can recover them. By the time bills for outstanding activities are paid there is unlikely to be a large amount of cash outstanding.  It will be necessary to allocate  money for the remaining prizes, 6 medals and glass mementoes   It was agreed to put to the members of the Section by way of email vote that remaining assets be transferred to the proposed Society (RT)
7. FORMATION OF CARSWELL SENIORS GOLF SOCIETY It was decided form a Society with those attending this meeting to be responsible for its formation.  RT will ballot members of the Seniors Section.  The Society to meet for the purpose of playing Golf approximately monthly.  Membership of the Society to be eligible to members of the former Section.  The probably name will be the Carswell Castaways Golf Society.  PE volunteered to be the Treasurer of the Society as having this offer in existence was essential to the formation.  There shall be a joining fee of £10 – also to be put to the members by email vote (RT).
8. REMAINING ACTIVIES OF THE SENIORS SECTION The Match at Witney on Thursday 10th October will proceed.  The Captain will attempt to join a few other players into this match. The Captain will enquire with the Captain of the Ladies Section whether the planned match will go ahead but this is unlikely. The Captain v Vice Captain subsidised match will go ahead and will become open to all members.  The date is Thursday 17th October.  BH will try to find a venue firstly at Drayton then at Witney. The Presentation Evening will proceed with the intended date being Friday 13th December 2019.  Likely venue is the Wantage Comrades Club in Wantage.  Likely cost will have to cover the band Wipe Out (already booked), hire of rooms (£50) and food.  TC will make enquires of the Comrades Club.  RT and BR to look at other possible venues such as Southmoor Village Hall or Snooty Mehman.  RT to ask John Ordish to look after the provision of medals and mementoes. The Colin Pedley competition will not be played this year. The website will continue initially as a resource for the members of the Section and then to support the new Society.


There will be a Meeting of Seniors Committee on Thursday to
(a) Find out what is happening after asking Gerry Lisi and Liquidator of
D&C Golf Ltd
(b) If Club is finished to decide what to do with Seniors property.

The Captain of the Mens Section met with Gerry Lisi on Monday 30th Sept
2019. The green keepers have been made redundant. The course is closed unless a buyer can be found. However the gates will be open this Friday 4th October for members to collect any clubs etc that they own.

If you need a handicap certificate (i e to confirm your membership of CGC)
go to Howdidido, click on more, click on handicap, up come your qualifying
results, and there just above your qualifying results (on the top left) there’s
a star for certificate, click and up comes your handicap cert which you can now print.

Roll Up Report – Tuesday 17th September 2019

28 players took part in this weeks roll up playing Individual Stableford with 21 playing in the MMM.

Gordon Westerhof

Gordon and his wife Jacqui are off to pastures new, Gordon has been a member for 15 years and was involved in the introduction of the system we currently use at the roll ups, I’m sure you all join me in wishing them both all the very best for the future.

New Member

Last week we welcomed Doug Varney into the Seniors, Doug has been a member of the club since August 2018.

New (trial) member

Chris Scotcher game along today to sample what the Seniors have to offer, hopefully Chris will become a member before long.

Away Day

Just over two weeks now before we play at Wychwood, there has been a sudden surge of members paying so if anyone is still undecided remember time is fast running out. CLICK HERE TO SEE IF YOU HAVE PAID.

Dates for the diary

October 11th     Race night

November 15th Quiz Night

December 13th Christmas Wipeout

Division one 2019 Winner

Glyn Williams

Casuals 2019 Winner

Richard Bramwell

Winner September Medal

Dave Merrison

Roll up results

    Group 1  
    h/c pts
1st Tony Scrivens 10 42
2nd Peter Pitts 21 37
3rd Phil Figgins 21 36
    Group 2  
    h/c pts
1st Ian Bensted 28 38
2nd Chuck Berry 25 37 c/b
3rd Tony Belcher 32 37

Change to Next Week’s Format

Orange Ball death

Similar rules as Yellow ball, Orange ball plus one other scores, as the names are displayed on the TV screen that is the order of play, however failure to return the Orange ball results in Disqualification so make sure you remain focused when in the hot seat!!

BorB Next Week

 Hole 13

Knighton Trophy 2019 – Results

Knighton Trophy 13th August 2019

Fifty eight players were scheduled to play this year, however due to injury and personal circumstances this was reduced to fifty six which meant unavoidable changes to the running order.

Thanks goes to Bill Baker for the organisation, which, after the initial hiccups progressed smoothly.


                   1st               Ron Jones          19 h/c       64

                   2nd              Martin Clark              12 h/c       66

                   3rd              Graham Brindley      16 h/c       68 c/b

                   4th               Peter Ellen                 11 h/c       68    

Lowest Gross

Martin Clark    78

Nearest the pin                                               Dave Merrison

Longest drive                                                   Martin Hinkley

Lowest par threes gross                               Ron Jones c/b