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Cleeve Hill

‘The epitome of what makes golf special’: Inside the fight to save Cleeve Hill

One of our most quirky courses, Cleeve Hill is faced with closure next year. As the countdown to that day gathers pace, we talk with those keen to keep it alive
 

With holes carved out of a quarry – and a course that really is the epitome of golf at its most natural – Cleeve Hill rides high in ranking lists and is beloved by the sport’s purists.

And yet, at present, that won’t be enough to save it. The Gloucestershire course, laid out by Old Tom Morris, is set to close on March 31 next year.

Those taking the decision to end more than 130 years of history cite financial viability – or the lack of it.

But there are others who refuse to accept Cleeve Hill’s fate is written and a concerted campaign is under way to save this most venerable of venues.

It was a fight that was given a huge boost when a video, produced by Cookie Jar Golf, took the club’s plight worldwide – gaining influential backing from course architects and legends of the sport.

Now as the battle continues to reverse the closure plans, I sat down with Cookie Jar’s co-owner Sam Williams and Cleeve Hill member David Allen to talk about the campaign, the club’s fragile future and what can be done to keep it alive.

Listen to the NCG Podcast: The battle to save Cleeve Hill Golf Club here:

Want more? Head to our podcast homepage.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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