Reading FC plans to turn golf course into training ground
A public golf course earmarked for sale to Reading Football Club will be missed by the whole community, campaigners have said.
A charity owning the land in Wokingham has agreed a sale to the football club.
Golf enthusiasts fear many will not be able to afford to play the sport if Bearwood Golf Club closes.
The land, formerly belonging to the Royal Merchant Navy School Foundation, will become a training ground for Reading FC's first team and academy.
Plans have been drawn up for 15 pitches on the site, with indoor facilities.
A full planning request will be submitted to Wokingham Borough Council in the near future, and the sale will be finalised on receipt of planning permission.
Former Reading captain Graeme Murty said the new academy was key to the club's future.
"You try and get the best young players in your environment, bring them into the culture of the club, and develop them from eight years old all the way up into your first team," he said.
"Hopefully you're saving yourself eight or ten million pounds, better than that, they then become a saleable asset."
However, golf club manager Barry Tustin said he was "disappointed" at the news.
"The club put in a bid to buy the land, but Reading FC came in with a much better deal," he said.
The Royal Merchant Navy School Foundation said the sale was part of a strategic decision to sell off land to obtain funds to focus on charity work.
The foundation is a national children's educational charity, providing funding for education for "needy" British children of Merchant Navy seafarers, professional sea-going fishermen and RNLI lifeboat crew members.