Here’s three important stories from the last month of 2023

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 1, 2024 13:04

From a club taking advantage of increased flexible working to opposition to close a nine-hole golf course, 2023 ended with an idea of trends that we might expect to see in 2024.

There’s interest in Scottish venues again

Two Scottish golf clubs that have faced major challenges in recent times both reported a promising end to 2023.

Mar Hall Golf and Spa Resort, which was in administration, was bought by a Dubai-based firm which has said it will invest £15 million into the facility so that it will ‘rival world-class resorts such as Cameron House and Gleneagles’.

Golspie Golf Club

Meanwhile, Golspie Golf Club, which was decimated by storm damage in 2014, has revealed that a wealthy American businessman has made an offer to buy it and said he was prepared to make a ‘huge investment’ in the club.

The members rejected the offer but are reportedly interested in working with him.

Nine-hole golf continues to grow

At the same time that there was praise for The R&A and USGA for updating the World Handicap System to include shorter-length golf courses within the course rating system, Ealing Council in London proposed to close the nine-hole Perivale Park Golf Course in 2024.

This has led to a campaign to save the club, with its former captain writing: “The course is a Godsend for elderly golfers who can’t play more than nine holes at a time, for teenage golfers who fill the course on long evenings during the summer, for workers who can squeeze in nine holes before or after work and for those whose family life stops them playing for more than two hours at a time.

“Perivale Park enables fun walking, sport and exercise, and equally importantly social and mental health benefits for those who enjoy golf but can’t play or afford other courses.”

Could your clubhouse be a community office?

Royal Ascot Golf Club is thriving at the moment, with soaring membership growth among its younger age categories.

Stephen Nicholson, general manager, explains why: “Our ambition is for the club to be embedded as a key part of the community. In addition to our outreach for junior players, we have expanded our young adult and new to golf academies, frozen increases in junior membership fees.

“We’ve also refurbished our clubhouse facilities and are currently upgrading our Wi-Fi infrastructure to encourage flexible working at the club.

“The result of our changes has been to transform our age profile with a younger and more engaged membership than at any point in our recent history.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 1, 2024 13:04
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