Lockerbie Golf Club NOT ‘on the brink of closure’

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams June 3, 2016 15:34

Lockerbie Golf Club has said that, contrary to reports in the Scottish press, it is not on the brink of closure, although it has had its rent slashed for the next two years.

According to the Daily Record, the club’s situation was so frangible that its officials asked the organisation that is responsible for the land where most of the course resides for the rent cut.

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They were also putting together a recuse deal for the venue, which has been in existence since 1889.

The club is run by volunteers who say they need ‘financial breathing space for three years’ to get the club back on its feet, stated the paper.

The club therefore asked for its annual rent of £3,600 to be cut by more than £2,000, it stated. The cash is paid to the Lockerbie and Lochmaben Common Good Fund.

The fund agreed and cut its rent to £1,500 per year for the next two years and credited it the sum needed to pay its 2015/16 rent. Lockerbie volunteer Lawson McLean had said “to stay open we need the common good trustees to help.” A spokesman for the fund also said: “The club accounts show that it is struggling to keep trading. Further loss of members and poor weather would almost certainly signal the end of the club.”

However, according to DnG24, the club has denied that it is on the brink of closure.

The club has struggled for a number of years but managed to reduce its losses from £17,573 in 2013 to a profit of £1,669 in 2014.

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Club accounts to September show that although subscriptions rose by 11.6 percent, income from green fees fell by £4,072 – blamed on “economic times, bad summer weather and changing demographics” – and resulted in an overall loss of £3,223.

The common good fund uses the income from the golf club rent to give grants to other worthwhile causes in Lockerbie and to meet administration costs.

Fund committee chairman Stephen Thompson said: “We are effectively giving them a rent reduction for three years.”

However, he wants to see the club “swallow their pride” and make a much bigger effort to source funding from other avenues to help keep it alive.

Mr Thompson said: “My problem is that there is less in the pot for other groups. We appreciate how much the golf club have contributed to the community over the years, however lots of groups have given a lot to the area.”

Responding to and dismissing the closure rumours, Lockerbie official Peter McGary called the rent cut a ‘step in the right direction’.

He said: “Initially it will be helpful. It would have been nice if it was reduced to zero.”

Club volunteer Lawson McLean said: “The golf club is very important to Lockerbie, which has few sports facilities. There has been a lot of work on the grounds over the winter and they are doing a lot to build up membership.”

Lawson runs a golf school every Thursday night for juniors and goes into local primary schools to teach golf – last year reaching more than 500 children. Several go on to become club members.

He said: “Interest from young people in golfing in Lockerbie is growing and this looks good for the future of the club.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams June 3, 2016 15:34
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