Millionaire businessman Graham Wylie reveals investment in Close House Golf Club

With two weeks to go until Close House Hotel closes, owner Graham Wylie talks of his plans for his growing golf business

Graham Wylie
Graham Wylie

Businessman Graham Wylie has told how a significant sum will be invested into his golf business as he prepares to close the adjoining Close House Hotel and transform it into his family home.

Earlier this year Mr Wylie, founder of Sage software firm and owner of Speedflex, TSG and Close House Hotel and Golf, revealed plans to shut the hotel and turn it back into a residential house.

The hotel, at Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, closes after hosting its final wedding on October 27 – and Mr Wylie said it was the nuptials side of the business that has caused issues.

He said: “With the wedding side of the business, the main ceremonies were held earlier in the day in the main house and then down at the club house for their evening party.

“But that didn’t mix well with the golfers who were coming off the course, wanting to go for a quiet drink and finding a party.

“That’s why I wanted to move into the house. I knew if I stopped the wedding business the golfers would be happy, so we took no more bookings but agreed to honour the weddings already booked.

“I couldn’t turn to those couples and say ‘sorry, you can’t have your wedding because I’m moving in’.”

The last wedding takes place on October 27, after which Mr Wylie hands the keys to builders who will spend at least a year turning the building, previously used by Newcastle University, back into a family home.

“We’re turning it back into the house it used to be, so staircases will be taken out and brickwork exposed - it will take around a year to complete.

Latest accounts for both Close House Golf Club and Close House Hotel show how an impairment review was carried out on the company’s tangible fixed assets during the year ended September 2013.

Close House Hotel and Golf Club
Close House Hotel and Golf Club
 

The freehold of the hotel was valued on the basis of its intended use, at £4.733m, a figure Mr Wylie and the other directors view as conservative and one which will grow as the market strengthens.

That valuation led to an exceptional impairment charge on the profit and loss account for the year ended September 30 for Close House Hotel, contributing to an overall loss of £5.64m for the year on sales of £2.4m, which had seen a slight on the previous year’s £2.3m.

The hotel officially closes on October 28 and the remaining hotel and golf facilities will be retained and developed, starting with an extensive refurbishment of the club house. No redundancies will be made as staff from the club have been used to staff any hotel events.

Existing accommodation at The Courtyard and The Terrace outbuildings will serve as accommodation for guests in the No 19 Club House, owned by the golf club, as well as golfers wanting to “play and stay”.

Close House Hotel Ltd, meanwhile, will continue to trade, generating revenues from the accommodation, rental of the Filly course, a villa in Spain and a guest house in Ambleside.

Within the Close House Golf Club business, gross profit was £792,140, an increase on the previous period’s £771,000, but the firm returned an overall loss for the year of £8.5m as a result of the hotel’s valuation, which added an exceptional impairment charge of £6.5m.

Looking ahead, Mr Wylie said he is looking forward to growing the golf business.

He said: “The club gets refurbished from January 5. I can’t give you exact figures but we’re spending a six-figure sum and it will take a month. We’re giving the whole thing a brush up and it will look quite something.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer