One Scottish club saved but three others could close

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 22, 2024 11:45

One of four Scottish golf courses that have been earmarked for closure has been saved as a Premier League star backs his support for one of the other three.

Last month it was revealed that Hollandbush Golf Club was on the brink of closure.

However, South Lanarkshire Council has decided to keep the venue going, reports The Scotsman.

“Council leader Joe Fagan put a motion over that an extra £800,000 goes into the Community Fightback Fund, which already had £200,000 in it,” reported Mags Cathcart, club manager. “This is the pot they will use to keep Hollandbush running this year as it is. It will be maintained by the council and run by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture and we will start working with the council to find a new model for running the club and course.

“Whether that be asset transfer or asset transfer light or some kind of semi-private set up where we would run the course, the starter’s office and whatnot and we maybe even sub-contract the greenkeepers from them with a view to whatever suited both parties.

“It’s an absolutely amazing feeling! Our members have been right behind us, as have the communities of Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill, Lesmahagow and Coalburn and our three local councillors as well. The Golf Club Managers’ Association, which is based in England, reached out. Obviously Scottish Golf as well. The Scottish Golf Club Managers Association, of which I’m a member of, got its weight behind it, too, as did the Lanarkshire Golf Association.”

In a post on social media, Councillor Ross Lambie said there had been a “loud, strong and public commitment” from the council to support Hollandbush and praised Cathcart and her fellow committee members for the “hard work” they had put in. “We are all just delighted,” she declared. “Yes, there is still a lot of work ahead, but we are all saying that this could possibly be the best thing that has happened to the club.”

The news isn’t all good for Scottish golf courses, however.

The Courier has reported that both the 18-hole and nine-hole tracks at Caird Park in Dundee are facing the axe, having been recommended for closure by the board of Leisure and Culture Dundee.

The decision has still to be ratified by the city council but, with the local authority trying to find more than £800,000 in savings, it is understood that closing the popular course could contribute almost half of that shortfall.

This led Scottish Golf to issue a statement supporting both Hollandbush and Caird Park.

A fourth municipal Scottish venue is also at risk of closure, and it is being supported by Aston Villa star John McGinn.

He joined the calls to save West Dunbartonshire’s only public course after a petition was launched in an effort to prevent Dalmuir Municipal Golf Course from being downsized or closed for good.

It comes after golfers were issued a letter from West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) – which owns the course – on February 17 stating that it would be considering this move at its next budget meeting due to ‘rapidly reducing funds’.

The letter goes on to add that the income WDC receives – including its funding from the Scottish government – is “significantly lower than the cost of delivering its services”.

Sharing the petition on social media McGinn said he was “gutted” to hear this news.

He added: “Gutted to read this. Please sign if you can.”

The petition was launched by Clydebank Overtoun Golf Club, one of several that play at Dalmuir.

Gerry Smith, match secretary at Clydebank Overtoun, said the response so far has been “remarkable”.

He said: “It’s unbelievable the amount of people who have not only shared it but also signed it and left comments. The comments have been absolutely fantastic.

“To see guys like John McGinn and Craig Connelly who are well-known throughout the sporting world comment on it is brilliant, that pushes it even further.

“I was reading some of the posts on X [formerly known as Twitter] and there were people from England and Wales who said they’ve played the course and loved it and that it shouldn’t be shut.

“I was hoping for just over 1,000 signatures so it could go to the council but to get 3000 and it’s still climbing is unbelievable.

“The response has been remarkable and if I could thank everyone individually I would. Hopefully, it’s enough to try and persuade them [WDC] to keep the golf course open.”

Update: According to a new report, Dundee City Council will keep the Caird Park courses – one is an 18-holer and the other a nine-holer – open.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 22, 2024 11:45
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1 Comment

  1. Dove February 22, 13:23

    #golf in GB & I is more than Top 100 links with high visitor fees – at its core it’s the local clubs that are the heart and soul of #communities. While golf may be booming in some areas it is not in all and yet it is one of the healthiest lifetime sports available. If you want #authenticexperiences – take a day or even half day and visit one of these local clubs – meet some members (not just other visiting Americans), eat a wonderful lunch that isn’t a fast burger or club sandwich, share a pint or a whisky, learn the history – see if they have an overseas membership – at the smaller clubs it can be less than a round at those Top 100, give back to the game and the people that have given so much – some of my most memorable times and long term friendships have come from just those days off the beaten path –

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