Golf club has more than doubled its membership in the last three months

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 6, 2020 08:17

A Scottish golf club that feared for its future earlier this year has said its membership has risen from 170 to 425 in just the last four months.

Shortly after clubs closed in March, Glencruitten Golf Club said it was ‘doom and gloom’ and ‘it’s just about battening up the hatches and trying to just hold out’.

However, now featured in The Times, the club is said to be ‘stronger than ever’.

‘Not only have last year’s members returned faithfully to the fairways, but they have also been joined by a new influx of players who had scarcely thought about playing golf before this most peculiar of summers,’ adds the paper.

“If it hadn’t been for functions and visitors fees, I don’t think the club would have lasted much longer,” says Bryan Livingston, the club secretary, about the state of the club in 2019. “Things were already looking bad when I joined the committee. Then when we went into lockdown, we thought, ‘Right, this is going to be it’.

Glencruitten Golf Club. Image from Facebook

“We’ve now got 425 members. It’s been incredible. Of them, we’ve probably got between 70 and 80 juniors, as opposed to maybe ten or 15 in the last few years. We’ve got kids who have never played golf before, but they played shinty so they have that hand-eye coordination. They’re used to swinging a stick. They are the future of our club.

“If one positive thing has come out of this whole situation, it is that a few golf clubs will have been saved.”

Similarly, The Nottinghamshire Golf & Country Club says it has emerged from lockdown ‘stronger than ever’.

The club used the lockdown period to carry out projects such as course improvements and has reported a surge in membership, with 100 new members signing up, since it reopened.

Owner Alan Hardy said: “The leisure and hospitality industries have been particularly affected, so to hear about a business emerging from lockdown stronger and more robust than ever is heart-warming to say the least.

“For many golf clubs, lockdown was a financially scary time. With an unknown period of time ahead of them, devoid of any members being able to play, many were faced with an impossible decision; release staff to furlough to ease the burden of cost and run on a skeleton crew? Or stay fully staffed and take another route?

“For us, it was an easy choice. Not only did we want to keep all of our green team on site, but we felt we had a golden opportunity to make some enhancements to the course while it was empty.”

The Nottinghamshire Golf & Country Club

Amanda Fletcher, the club’s managing director, added: “So many members were kind enough to renew during the lockdown period, despite not being able to play and I genuinely think that it was the fact they could see just how much the club was improving.

“We are so proud to have signed up over 100 new members since lockdown, with not a single member leaving us.”

Not all clubs feels the same way, however.

Rothes Golf Club has told the Press and Journal that it has been ‘forced close to the edge’ by the pandemic.

The club is currently engaged in a redundancy process with its only employee.

Committee member Neal Anderson is adamant that the club will remain open but fears there may be small courses across Scotland that will not survive.

He said: “I’ve seen it happen here. The larger courses are introducing special prices to generate extra income and attract a few more members from elsewhere – they’re right to do it, they’ve got to look after themselves too.

“It’s a competitive market and what might be small numbers for them are big numbers for us and it makes a big difference to our operation.

Rothes Golf Club. Image from Facebook

“The club won’t close but times are definitely tough. Even before coronavirus we didn’t make enough from golf alone, we had to look elsewhere and we’ve been lucky to have fantastic support from the business community, everyone’s finding it hard now though.

“I’m optimistic we’ll survive but small clubs can be very fragile. You can’t afford many mistakes with money, let alone something like this.

“Our greenkeeper has been on furlough since the start of lockdown and we’ve had volunteers coming into look after the course, I’ve been cutting the grass too, but we’ll never be able to have it looking as immaculate as he does.

“We’re hoping that staycation holidays will help us this year.

“We have been getting some visitors in during the summer so far, but not in great numbers.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 6, 2020 08:17
Write a comment


  1. Peter August 6, 16:25

    Great to hear !! Have to hope they have a great “on-boarding” program to keep most of them, long term !!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Catherine C August 6, 11:55

    If it’s for one year, it’s not expensive !

    Reply to this comment
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