THE owner of a private golf course in a stunning Saddleworth setting is offering a chance to play the nine-hole hidden gem.
All owner Nick Cotterill-Waring wants in return for access to the spectacular, secluded course in Greenfield is help maintaining the course and grounds.
And while the 2,726-yard course at Hollyville may not test Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas or Scottie Scheffler, its seven par four holes, two par three opportunities and one long range par five will provide a test for any mid to high handicapper.
With the course, extending to nearly 15 acres, over two sites, facing an uncertain future, accountant Nick, a Hollyville resident, stepped in to buy it.
But his funds won’t stretch to regular maintenance. So, in securing recent planning permission for a new access track to help management of the course with its great views up to Pots and Pans and Dick Clough, Nick has appealed for help from local volunteers.
“I never dreamed I would live somewhere like this,” said Nick, originally from Glossop, who moved into an apartment at the Georgian built pile, off Holmfirth Road, eight years ago. “I still pinch myself I am here.”
Originally built for the Buckley family in the 1820s, Hollyville latterly became the corporate offices for Oldham based company, Slumberland, executives and VIPs wafting clubs on holes such as Duncan’s Corner, Bouldergreen and Wall Beach.
In 2003, the building was turned into apartments with industrialist Peter Buckley, the former Slumberland owner, now in his 80s, still funding the weekly upkeep of the quaint course for the two resident golfers and to keep it looking nice for the residents who don’t.
Nick added: “We are all grateful to Mr Buckley, who has never accepted a penny in return.”
There were some suggestions part of the Hollyville site would be included in the controversial Greater Manchester Places for Everyone (once Greater Manchester Spatial Framework), providing more than 70 houses, but it has since been omitted.
“We are desperate for land and everyone wants to live up this end,” said Nick. “So, I understand both sides of it.
“But this is a beautiful piece of land and apart from Dovestone what else is there in Greenfield?
“So, it concerned me who was going to look after it in the future,” Nick told the Independent. “It could end up a real eyesore.
“In its heyday, I understand the course was immaculate and upto the standard of Saddleworth Golf Club.
“The plan now is to get it back to as good as we can. But I can’t do it on my own which is why I need help from the community to help restore it to its former glory.
“In return, I am happy for people to come up and have a round on the course. Perhaps, they feel a little bit intimidated by going to a golf club.
“They can come here, bring their butties and enjoy a few hours knocking a ball about. It’s great for me too because I only played golf for the first time recently.”
With two ‘ponds’ on the site, a waterfall, brook, plus numerous trees and bushes supporting a plethora of wildlife, Nick believes this is a great chance to preserve and enhance the green ‘oasis’ with input of local expertise.
“If I spent every penny I had, unfortunately, I wouldn’t make a dent in the maintenance work.
“But the new road will make it easier to access the grounds and hopefully help any volunteers become involved with the project.
“Volunteers are needed to help with grounds maintenance and the planting of indigenous wild flowers and plants round the borders of the golf course and ponds to encourage and sustain the local wildlife and ecology of the area.
“We are also keen to put up bird/bat boxes.”
Nick’s plans weren’t greeted with universal approval. One objector wrote on the Oldham Council Planning Portal: “I have a suspicion that this application is not genuinely related to the “golf course”, but part of a longer-term plan for wider development.
“The golf course has been neither used nor maintained for many years, and access could be more easily achieved by improving the existing gate on Tunstead Lane or any number of alternatives.”
• If you fancy volunteering for some groundwork and a game of golf Nick can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org