Golf buffs have made the most of the forthcoming closure of the Direct Golf driving range at the John Smith’s Stadium by spending almost £30,000 in one day.
News of the site’s closure has disappointed the local golf community.
The closure follows others in Bury, the Wirral and at Leeds Road Mini Park in Huddersfield.
It is understood that owner Sports Direct may also shut sites in Peterborough, Walsall and Dundee.
Yesterday an employee said staff had been overwhelmed by regulars’ support - and by people seeking a bargain. Sales on Wednesday topped £27,500.
He said: “The driving range has always been popular and the shop has always been busy. As soon as people got wind that there was a 50 per cent off sale, they came down. It’s still going on today but there’s not a whole heap of stuff left.”
The driving range is scheduled to close on Friday, November 19 with the last day of trading for the shop on November 20.
Staff received just two-and-a-half weeks’ notice of the closure.
“Everything has been very rushed. Staff were as surprised as customers, especially this close to Christmas.”
Disappointed workers are now considering whether to redeploy to other Direct Golf stores, with the nearest located near Doncaster. However they claim that the available vacancies are not golf-specific.
And they say golf provision in the area - with planners controversially eyeing Bradley Park Golf Course for 2,000 new homes and a new school - is now at risk.
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Store employees have been in contact with KSDL to query rumours that staff had to be off the site by November 21.
They were informed that that was not the case and that no attempt had been made to renew the lease.
And when Direct Golf staff spoke to Radisson, said to be the company behind the proposed hotel development, they were told there were no plans to have a hotel on the site “in the next 12 months”.
Sports Direct acquired Direct Golf UK in October last year after Direct Golf and its parent company, Powerhouse Golf, went into administration in the wake of serious cash flow issues and the discovery of alleged accounting irregularities which had rendered the business insolvent. Sports Direct already had a 25% stake in Powerhouse Golf.
Sports Direct, headed by billionaire businessman and Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley, failed to respond to a request from the Examiner for a comment on the closure.