Another five golf courses are earmarked for closure in Scotland

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 3, 2020 22:12

For the second time in a few days, there are reports that a Scottish local authority wants to close down five of its golf courses.

A few days ago The Times reported that Glasgow Life is considering closing down five of the local council’s six municipal golf courses due to low usage, and now the Ayrshire Post has revealed that South Ayrshire Council is considering closing five clubs as well, in order to find £9 million to balance its books.

Five golf courses in Scotland are earmarked for closure

A public consultation into a raft of cost-cutting measures, including the closure of swimming pools and community centres, has been launched on the South Ayrshire Council website but it is understood that a list of closure targets has already been drawn up.

The clubs earmarked for closure are Belleisle Golf Course, Maybole Golf Course, Girvan Golf Course, Dalmilling Golf Course and Seafield Golf Course.

A council spokesman said: “We’re currently looking at a number of proposals for the budget although no decisions have been taken.

“We are faced with an £8.9 million gap in the budget across the council so there will be some tough choices ahead.”

The James Braid-designed Belleisle and Seafield courses sit side by side and opened in 1927.

The facilities benefited from the addition of a brand new £1.5 million clubhouse in 2016.

Girvan is another James Braid design and is a part-links, part-parkland layout that enjoys the same stunning views of the Ailsa Craig as Trump Turnberry.

The three other courses operated by South Ayrshire Council – Darley, Lochgreen and Fullarton, which all use the same Troon Links clubhouse – are not believed to be affected by the proposed cuts.

This comes at a dreadful time for municipal golf courses in Scotland. In Dundee, Camperdown GC is due to close at the end of this month after a last-ditch attempt to save it fell through, and David Doig, of the Lothians Golf Association, recently said that Edinburgh could follow Glasgow’s lead as it needs to find up to £40 million in savings from it budget for 2021-22, and already one golf course has lost nine of its holes.

However, a Merseyside council is to invest more than half a million pounds in its golf offerings, because it believes that golf courses that do not suffer from under-investment achieve a significant return on the investment.

Local authority to invest heavily in golf because it ‘will deliver returns’


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 3, 2020 22:12
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  1. Pete USA March 5, 14:09

    A pity, but with few golfers, makes sense. We were faced with similar situation, people told us they had less time & money to play and the game seemed too difficult to learn, so with fewer players courses were closing. We learned, empty fairways pay no bills and switched to the Hybrid golf ball and now we have more golfers playing & enjoying the “shorter course game” in half the time and cost with more satisfaction.
    In today’s market you got to be nimble and economize or learn to agonize…golf’s no exception!

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  2. Stuart February 28, 12:50

    So sad, I’ve played on the 9 hole Maybole and I know of the fine reputation Bellisle has. Such a sad and sorry situation that we may lose these wonderful places.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Peter February 27, 15:34

    Always sad to see so many courses closing ! Thanks Alistair ! With contrarian strategies, creative and critical thinking. I know many can be saved ! Municipalities often see things in “black and white”, they don’t explore the edges ! There are so many answers for many sites when we think of concepts like mixed-use, collaboration and housing ! Too often, the people preparing feasibility studies and plans are only looking through a lens of golf !

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