The R&A is set to buy a Scottish golf course

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 13, 2020 06:59

The R&A is hoping to buy a struggling golf course in Glasgow and turn it around by developing it into a ‘blueprint for how golf can be offered’ in the future.

According to The Scotsman, the St Andrews-based organisation is on the verge of concluding a deal to buy Lethamhill Golf Course.

The 18-hole Lethamhill is one of six golf venues operated by Glasgow Life, the cultural and sporting arm of Glasgow City Council, and, of those, five, including Lethamhill, have been earmarked for closure due to low usage.

However, it now seems that Lethamhill is set to be at the heart of The R&A, which wants to develop the venue into a new ‘community golf centre’.

The paper says The R&A and the council are currently working through the “process” to reach an agreement on the purchase of the land.

Lethamhill Golf Course. Image from Facebook

An R&A spokesperson said: “We are exploring the possibility of acquiring the public golf course at Lethamhill and are currently involved in ongoing discussions of our proposals with Glasgow Life. We continue to follow the process outlined by the local authority with the aim of reaching an agreement for the site.

“We believe that this is an opportunity to create and establish a popular blueprint for how golf can be offered in many appealing ways to be enjoyed by men, women, young people and families of all ages and backgrounds. It reflects our wider strategy to ensure golf is thriving 50 years from now.”

The paper also states that the provision of golf there will not be focussed on a ‘traditional’ approach, as Martin Slumbers, The R&A’s chief executive, believes that has been the problem for many struggling golf venues.

“Many of those municipal golf courses are providing traditional type of play, but it’s pressure from councils that is driving the Glasgow issue,” he said recently.

“But I’m a massive optimist and, if the game can truly think about the product that’s being delivered by golf clubs, there is a market five times the size of existing membership today that is more diverse and it’s younger.

“And that’s our opportunity. And we have to break down the traditional barriers to be able to embrace it. You go to clubs which deliver non-traditional forms of the game, they’re busy. And I think that’s a lesson for all of us who love this game.”

SNP councillor David McDonald, the chair of Glasgow Life, added: “It will help develop a whole new way to play and access the sport for a wider audience including local groups and schools. In addition it brings added community benefits, jobs and training opportunities.

“During our golf review we promised to deliver a sustainable future for golf. This agreement represents just that. A partnership between the city and an internationally-established sport governing body that will lead to the development of new ways to participate in and enjoy golf.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 13, 2020 06:59
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  1. Sue August 15, 12:58

    Sounds like a good concept. To keep the game alive will take some imaginative business realignment and help golf reach those who would traditionally poo-poo the idea of trying golf. I was one of those people. I shied away from even considering it as a sport because of the image of old men with outdated notions and the prohibitive costs. Now 22 years later I love the game and that’s down in part to the club I joined when I began playing – they had an inclusive attitude. And yes it was a proprietary club.

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  2. Douglas August 14, 10:12

    Iain – hope they’re going to target people who can afford to pay their prices to play 🙂

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  3. Neil Sjoberg August 14, 01:46

    Always: Well done R&A!
    What a wonderful idea and an opportunity to give a root and branch example of how to run a popular, successful inclusive and inexpensive golf club.
    As we have proved at Epping :focussing on”the playing of Golf” keeping overheads down and rules to a minimum cannot fail

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  4. Peter August 13, 16:43

    Why not finally go to shorter feeder courses, three, six, nine-hole loops to bring more to the game and make it easier to afford ? People are going to have far less time and money post pandemic !! We are going to be challenging more things and finding some great “next practices” due to this pandemic, let this be one !!

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