Historic Scottish golf club to close

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 10, 2017 08:35 Updated

One of the oldest golf clubs in Ayrshire is to close down before Christmas due to a decline in membership numbers in recent years.

The demise of Beith Golf Club coincides with a call by Scottish Golf to more than double affiliation fees paid by golf club members so it can invest in the game in Scotland.

Members of the club, which was established in 1896, voted to wind it up in early December and the club has informed the Ayrshire Golf Association of their decision, according to the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald.

‘[The club] has suffered a decline in membership in recent years, to the point where the membership were not in a position to guarantee future losses,’ states the paper.

The closure comes just 22 years after the nine-hole venue was extended to 18 holes.

‘Options including continuing until the end of the club year in February 2018 and reducing the course back to nine holes, but the membership had little appetite for the options and agreed to wind up the club.’

Beith Councillor Reid said: “It is obviously regrettable that an organisation with such a wayward history is winding up. They have such a long and distinguished reputation and have such a long history. People are worried about losing their jobs, or finding it difficult to make ends meet.

“When you have to make cuts in the household it’s things like football club season tickets or golf memberships that go. Because there are sufficient funds for the club to meet their debts this is the time to act rather than when they dip into the red. They are doing that to protect the committee members.

“I have heard they might go back to a nine-hole course as they were previously, if they could get enough people to sign up and that would reduce the cost. All golf clubs are struggling because of job insecurity. If your costs outweigh your income you have a problem.

“They have had a reducing membership over the years.”

Earlier this month the CEO of Scottish Golf, Blane Dodds, said the governing body urgently needed extra funds in order for it to grow the game in Scotland, which in turn could safeguard other golf clubs from closing down.

Scottish golf clubs urged to accept affiliation fee rise


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 10, 2017 08:35 Updated
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  1. Neil October 12, 21:20

    Another victim of the discouraging CONGU handicp system.
    Make the handicap system rewarding again and see the membership numbers start to climb as they once did

    Reply to this comment
  2. Pete October 12, 19:08

    Go with the new Lite Ball Format, saves time, cost & frustration…it’s what the new golfing culture is all about…economy,efficiency & convenience…quick in – quick out! Slow golf on big courses is like the dinosaurs going extinct…who’s got the time or patience with fewer playing them anymore….computer age & questionable economy has changed the dynamics.
    Get your minds right & update your thinking.

    Reply to this comment
  3. S October 12, 16:23

    As a golf course owner I find the biggest problem is the many thousands of golfers who now don’t join clubs because they can book green fees often at ridiculous rates offered by tee of times/ golf now /2 fore 1 etc.What incentive is there to join when you can play on most courses for £8 to £15.Some of these guys play our course 2/3 times a month and when asked about membership will just reply they can play say four courses a month for far cheaper rates than being a member somewhere.

    Reply to this comment
    • No nickname December 1, 00:36

      Well, unless courses are kept going by their members, then there be nowhere for these players to turn up and play for £10.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Pete October 12, 14:08

    You don’t have to shut down your course, just change it to a “Lite Golf Ball” format. Improves the smaller golf facility allowing quicker play, with less frustration and appeals to more golfer’s. Offers the poorly performing course a new lease on life without added expense. Now being used in US to save struggling courses.

    Reply to this comment
  5. David Thomas October 10, 16:57

    It is such a shame that our smaller historic courses are having to close – what is the answer, I wish we knew. What is darn certain though is that ridiculous comments by idiots at Scottish Golf to the tune of doubling union fees – what are they on? Members of clubs are exactly that, and most do not want this ubiquitous tax to pay for these Unions who despite whatever they say, just look after the few. Just look at the English Golf Union who spent millions of our money building a course (Woodhall Spa) in the middle of no-where for the few that were lucky enough to be able to play there. This money for these Unions are just a tax on memberships and fact is many do not become club members because of it. Rather than doubling these fees as wanted by those Scottish types, get rid it altogether and let the clubs have the money to look after themselves – If the Golf Unions want monies, let them earn it!

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