A GOLF club that was established before the Titanic sank and Suffragettes were jailed for storming Parliament has revealed a rescue plan in a drive to secure its future after being hit by falling membership, a wet winter and coronavirus.

Dinsdale Golf Club’s director Perry Alexander is urging Darlington Borough Council to approve his blueprint to attract more women and children to play the sport at the 18-hole parkland course off Neasham Road, Middleton St George.

In a planning application lodged with the authority to building a ten-bay enhanced practice facility, including a teaching studio, and a professional shop, Mr Alexander details how the number of members had plummeted from 629 in 2008 to 356 a decade later when the club was bought by private owners, despite initiatives to attract more members.

He said one of the wettest winters on record had been followed by the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the club would be closed for several months, adding: “Our income and the club sustainability will be taking a further hit and we are currently unsure of what the future holds.”

Mr Alexander said: “The enhanced practice facility will give us the chance to get back on our feet and generate further income to hopefully stop us going out of business.”

He said research had indicated improving practise facilities at the club overlooking the Cleveland Hills, which was established in 1910 and has produced numerous golfers who compete in Major championships, would be “key to attracting more people to the game, especially young people who will be the future of the game and key to club survival”.

Mr Alexander said the proposals represented “a huge opportunity to interact and encourage children of all ages and ladies to get into the game” as well as to generate more income and strengthen the club’s position financially.

He added: “The facility will be perfect to invite school children to and have weekend classes.

“Junior golf has been on the decline for many years and it is no different at Dinsdale in terms of falling numbers. England Golf run many schemes to get children of all ages playing Golf, one being Girls Golf Rocks. We believe enhanced facilities will encourage organisations like England Golf and the County Union to use our venue to host such schemes.”