Two golf clubs that came close to closure post record growth

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 24, 2022 12:20

Two Scottish golf clubs that have both been on the brink of closure within recent years have now both reported record growth.

Membership at North Inch Golf Course in Perth, one of the oldest venues in the world, has almost tripled since 2016, with overall revenue rising almost £130,000.

Less than six years ago we reported that the city centre course was at risk of closure due to financial problems.

However, the club has now revealed that since then the number of rounds played has more than doubled from from 8,679 to 17,956; membership has almost tripled from 175 to more than 500, increasing income from £26,230 to £106,586; daily revenue from green fees has increased from £15,976 to £51,652; overall revenue has risen from £42,206 to £136,512 and this is projected to rise to £170,000 by the end of the financial year; and user satisfaction has increased from 58 to 87 percent.

Councillor Angus Forbes, the council’s environment and infrastructure convener, said: “The rejuvenation of North Inch Golf Course is something everyone in Perth and Kinross can be proud of and it is a real asset for the community.

North Inch Golf Course. Image from Facebook

“The team has done excellent work over the past six years and the new business plan sets out how the course will continue to develop and attract new players.

“Golf has been played on North Inch for over 500 years and it has an exciting future.

“Golf saw a rise in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown but the golf course was also experiencing a rise in popularity before then.

“Our new business plan will help build on this, while ensuring golf on the North Inch remains affordable and accessible to all.”
Councillor Grant Laing, who sits on the environment and infrastructure committee, said: “I’m really happy to see the success that this business has had since the business plan was put in place.

“I was on the committee at the time and part of the administration when this was implemented so I remember the discussions at the time so it’s great to see how well it has done.

“A well done also needs to go to the officers and Niall McGill (golf course officer) and his team there for all of their work to achieve their targets, all through Covid and the pandemic as well. Niall has got some really innovative ideas that are a great benefit.

“The course is a great asset to the people of Perth and Kinross and I hope it continues to thrive.”

Meanwhile, Dalmuir Golf Course in Clydebank is also thriving.

The town’s municipal golf course was considered for closure more than once in the past five years as West Dunbartonshire Council struggled to plug millions of pounds of budget gaps.

Council bosses proposed shutting the golf course to save £232,000 in 2018 along with reducing bin collections and gritting footpaths.

With another budget hole in 2019, golf fees went up by 20 percent.

Dalmuir Golf Course. Image from Facebook

However, the local authority put extra effort into pushing memberships and turnout, which helped before Covid-19 took participation to the next level.

The club saw just 3,635 rounds played in the entire season in 2018, but in just six months last year it saw 5,800 visitor rounds played, and membership had shot up to 264.

In 2019/20, there was just £57,000 in income and £130,000 from council coffers. The current year estimates £155,000 in income and just £47,000 from taxpayers.

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill said: “We have almost doubled the membership numbers. During lockdown, people needed to be outdoors and exercise outdoors.

“We are more than happy that this work continues, that the golf course is saved and continues to be affordable and is attractive to members of the public. And long may it continue.”

Councillor Gail Casey, added: “It’s the jewel in the crown here in Clydebank and I’m delighted to see the progress made and we don’t have to worry about it for a wee while yet.

“As someone looking at the prospect of retirement, I may be looking at joining the ladies section – or I might be a golf widow.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 24, 2022 12:20
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