‘The golf club donations are still coming in – it has taken us aback’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 15, 2020 11:13

Another two Scottish golf clubs have set up successful appeals for money during the pandemic as another two clubs announce they are offering free memberships to NHS staff.

Several clubs have now set up crowdfunders due to the financial impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Now, according to The Scotsman, two more clubs have said they have received a positive response from local communities to appeal funds set up to try to protect their future.

Peebles has raised more than £6,500 in less than a week while Torwoodlee brought in close to £3,500 in under 48 hours.

Donations have mainly been made by members.

“Most golf clubs will struggle in these difficult times,” said Les Biscomb from Peebles Golf Club. “Some – the likes of North Berwick, Gullane and Muirfield – will weather it and continue as normal.

“But most golf clubs will be in a very different world when we come out of this and, sadly, not all of them will survive, I’m afraid. Like all clubs, it’s troubled times for us at Peebles and we could be close to going into the winter period when we come out of lockdown.

“We initially set a target of £2,000 when we decided to launch the monthly members’ appeal fund, but the figure stands now at £6,590 and donations are still coming in. That is unbelievable and it has taken us aback, to be honest. We will close the gates at the end of April, put that sum into the golf club ‘locker’, then reset back to £2,000 for May.”

Robin Brydon, chairman of Torwoodlee, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, said the club is effectively asking members to donate what they would be spending if the course was open.

“It is amazing and even ex-members are starting to contribute,” he said. “We are like a lot of Scottish clubs in that we are struggling. We just don’t know how we are going to come out of this. We already had existing debt from back in 1995, when the club went to 18 holes. We have been paying that back and making headway. But member numbers have been reducing and visitor numbers as well over the years.

“We increased our membership fees in October and we have been fortunate that we’ve got 75 per cent of that money in already. A lot of people at clubs where the financial year is different to us are looking at not re-joining because they don’t know how long the 2020 season is going to be.

“In the next two or three years, at least some clubs are probably going to have to shut. There was talk already of some going back to nine holes.It is all down to membership numbers and cashflow. Also, how supportive are the banks going to be in this?”

The Scotsman also reports that the Borders Golfers’ Association has refunded all its affiliation fees to its 22 member clubs, at about £2.50 per golf club member and is offering a £500 interest-free loan to its member clubs.

This comes as now two golf clubs in Ireland, Killorglin and Castleisland, have announced they will not be reopening when the current restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, at least another two clubs have announced that they are offering free memberships to NHS staff.

Last week Cowdenbeath Golf Club said it would be doing this, and now Auchterderran Golf Club in Scotland and Trefloyne Golf Club in Wales have stated they will be doing the same.

Central Fife Times & Advertiser reports that Auchterderran Golf Club has offered the following invite: ‘Covid 19 membership offer. As big thank you for helping the nation get through the Covid 19 crisis the golf club would like to offer free membership until March 31 2022 to frontline staff working in the Scottish National Health and Ambulance Services.Bring a friend with you and they, who do not need to be employed by the NHS, too can get access to a special offer.The offer must be taken up by March 31 2021.”

Trefloyne Golf Club. Image from Facebook

While the Western Telegraph has stated that Trefloyne’s membership offer will be valid for 12 months, and for NHS workers who don’t yet play the game or are still learning, coaching will be arranged.

‘This applies to anyone working in the NHS,’ reads a club statement.

‘Just turn up with the relevant ID and you’re in without any formal application procedure. We’ll be proud to have you.’

In other coronavirus news, the PGA has stated that its Helpline service has offered coronavirus support to more than 5,800 members and over 1,500 golf clubs and facilities since it went live less than three weeks ago, and Wales Golf has announced it has cancelled or postponed all championships and events up to and including July 12. In addition, all events requiring club qualification for national finals have been cancelled for 2020.

While in Portugal, the Quinta do Lago golf resort has, along with 500 of its residents, donated €500,000 towards the cost of buying essential hospital equipment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quinta do Lago contributed €50,000 towards the cost of buying badly needed equipment – including CT scanners, ventilators, Covid-19 testing kits, heart rate monitors, echocardiogram machines, blood-testing kits and personal protective equipment – with the rest of the money coming from private donations.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 15, 2020 11:13
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1 Comment

  1. Peter April 15, 15:57

    Glad to hear it !! When members are donating, you know you’ve done things right !! Great success !!

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