New municipal golf club opens

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 12, 2021 08:35

A council-run golf club has opened in Ayrshire – and it already has more than 180 members.

Run by South Ayrshire Council, the ‘Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club’ doesn’t have a clubhouse or course, but gives members access to eight golf courses in the area.

It has been set up to attract first-time members and families and, to prove the point, more than half of its membership does not have a handicap and is in the process of getting one for the first time.

The cost of membership is £60 plus a season ticket, of which there are several different types, with the most expensive being less than £500.

Karin Sharp, chief operating officer at Scottish Golf, insists the new model will offer ‘flexibility’ for players.

She said: “We fully believe that this approach can only help make the game more accessible and inclusive to a wider community of golfers.

Karin Sharp

“Whilst we’ve seen a really encouraging increase in golfer numbers across the last year, the longer-term trend before the pandemic saw a consistent reduction of around 5,000 members a year over the previous 10 years.

“In order to reverse this trend, it is vital that as a sport, we explore alternative approaches to make sure the game remains relevant and accessible to the modern golfer and more people try the sport for the first time.”

Alasdair Malcolm, county golf secretary at the Ayrshire Golf Association, added: ”The Ayrshire Golf Association welcomes the Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club as one of our 64 member clubs.

“The concept is fairly unique in the area, allowing men, women and junior golfers to compete together in the same competitions and give golfers, whether new to the game or who have played in the past, another alternative to engage in the sport.

“Hopefully the Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club will act as a gateway club for many players who have never been or are not presently members of a club.

“This experience will help those who choose to develop a greater interest in competitive golf, the opportunity to progress to membership of other established clubs in the area, which will benefit our wider club membership.”

Councillor Chris Cullen, South Ayrshire’s economy and culture spokesman, said: “While still in its infancy, the early signs are that it’s encouraging first time club members to hone their skills and hopefully progress onto one of the many established clubs who are affiliated to play on our courses.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 12, 2021 08:35
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