Five golf courses in Scotland are earmarked for closure

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 19, 2020 09:07

Five golf courses in Scotland that have suffered from low usage in recent years could be closed down, according to a report in The Times.

Glasgow Life, the cultural and sporting arm of the city council, manages all the venues – Littlehill, Lethamhill, Linn Park, Ruchill and Alexandra Park – and the move could save £530,000, it states. The clubs represent five of Glasgow Life’s six facilities, with only Knightswood GC being spared.

However, the paper adds that nothing has been finalised yet.

A spokesman for Glasgow council said: “We need to make budget savings which could be in the region of £50 million. The cross-party budget working group asked officers for savings options. All parties have received the same information and they will present their budgets at a meeting on February 20.”

An official document says that more than half a million pounds could be saved by closing all the public golf clubs apart from the nine holes at Knightswood.

Glasgow Life launched a public consultation over the ‘low usage’ and ‘substantial annual deficit’ in keeping the courses going.

David Doig, of the Lothians Golf Association, said that the other councils could soon follow Glasgow’s lead.

“The Braids GC in Edinburgh, for example, went from two 18-hole golf courses to an 18 and a nine,” he said. “We’re concerned the golf courses are closing across Scotland and in the Lothian area as well.

“A few years ago we lost a couple of clubs through lack of members but a lot of the closure of the council courses is more about the lack of finances to keep them to a condition that they need them to be at. They’re public golf courses so there’s no membership allocation to them. They’re obviously not raking in enough money to keep their head above water.”

In Edinburgh, council chiefs expect to have to find up to £40 million in savings from their budget for 2021-22.

Adam McVey, leader of Edinburgh City Council, said: “We’ve already started outlining our long-term plans for making the city more sustainable and accessible while managing our city’s growth more fairly and effectively. But to reach these goals, we need to act now and make the smartest use of the resources we have available.

“Yes, there will be some difficult decisions we’ll need to make – that’s no secret. As part of our budget setting exercise, officers are asked for ideas for savings and it’s important to note that not all of these become budget proposals.”

In Dundee, Camperdown GC is due to close this year to save almost £400,000 in annual subsidies in a move that one opposition official described as “cultural vandalism”. The club has only 90 members, and the number of rounds played has fallen from 23,968 in 2009-2010 to 17,369 in 2018-19.

Andrew McKinlay, the chief executive of Scottish Golf, said that municipal courses were “the fabric of the grassroots game in Scotland”, adding: “In certain local authorities the municipal course finds itself as a direct competitor to [private] clubs offering discounted rates via third parties.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 19, 2020 09:07
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4 Comments

  1. Pete USA February 20, 13:37

    Should all be “converted” into smaller courses for time efficient play in half the time, then you will see new golfers playing again. Just use new Hybrid golf ball, instantly improves shorter course and golfing experience.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Paul February 17, 12:01

    Hardly surprising with golf participation in decline.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Peter February 14, 11:58

    With so many courses, there are great possibilities ! Why not convert one into a three, six and nine hole loop, bringing more in to the game and allowing people with less time to play ! Sure land can be developed and monies made, most likely. However, with contrarian thinking and strategies, there are other paths to success !

    Reply to this comment
    • Pete USA February 20, 14:38

      Convert all to time efficient shorter courses without expense here’s how: Use the new Hybrid golf ball developed for full par & play on smaller courses, providing the same game in half the time. Quick, affordable and enjoyable golf are what people want today, so here’s a simple remedy to bringing people back and an easy way to redesign the course to modern standards.

      Reply to this comment
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