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David_Tepper

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #175 on: January 29, 2020, 12:16:12 AM »
Brian -
Thanks for posting this news, sad (and shocking) as it is.
DT

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #176 on: January 29, 2020, 02:55:35 AM »
Yes DT very sad news indeed. But given Glasgow City Councils track record on management it is a wonder they haven't shut down everything.

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #177 on: January 29, 2020, 05:51:07 AM »
The new minimum wage from April 1st will further seal the fate of many more in Scotland.


Scotland does not charge enough for golf so quite simply there is not enough money to cover costs. It is not just Scotland that is immune. West Wales, the north of England are all next in line.


Courses can survive charging low fees if they have less employees, accept worse playing conditions, no golf professional, no golf secretary and most important get rid of the clubhouse.


It is not rocket science, just the simplest of mathematics fueled by under supply of people wanting to play a game that is not as good as it was 20 years ago.


You reap what you sow.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Niall C

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #178 on: January 29, 2020, 07:34:47 AM »
Andrew McKinlay, the chief executive of Scottish Golf (SG), said that municipal courses were “the fabric of the grassroots game in Scotland”, adding: “In certain local authorities the municipal course finds itself as a direct competitor to [private] clubs offering discounted rates via third parties.”

Hang on, is this not the same organisation that is trying to make booking easier for visitors and thereby undermining the benefit of being a club member, and it should be said undermining the value of municipals ?

Niall

Niall C

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #179 on: January 29, 2020, 08:01:38 AM »
Also in terms of the Glasgow situation those that know me know I can't say too much in my present position but just let me say that it's not a given these courses will close and that there are things happening behind the scenes that might surprise a few folk.


In terms of the courses themselves, Littlehill (Auchinairn as it was originally called) is a 18 hole James Braid from the early to mid 1920's. Having seen a plan of the original course I would judge that it has had next to no changes and while it is kept in very basic condition the architecture shines through strongly. I was very surprised at how good a course it is.


Lethamhill - an 18 holer from pre-WWI, it has been tampered with. Originally David Adams (I think) then Vardon/Braid it also has interesting/quirky/fun golf. Well worth a play but not on the same level as Littlehill.


Ruchill - 9 holer that was built on the site of an old 9 hole course that once hosted one of the first Scottish Professional golf championships. The new course is about 10 years old and while Monty put his name to it by way of supporting the project, the design was done largely by a landscape architect with little golf experience. Not played it as it is effectively already closed as they don't have the money to man it.


Linn Park - 18 holer that I've never played but I think this was the original course of Cathcart Castle GC. Again dates back to pre-WWI.


Alexandria Park - apart from a few holes this is no more than a glorified par 3 course. The course is now 9 holes but in the past they have had between 10 and 18 holes. Alexandria Park opened early 1870's and the Glasgow GC moved their shortly thereafter. When they left the Council took over the running. In it's day it used to have professional comps with the likes of Old Tom, Willie Park, Andrew Kirkaldy, Willie Fernie and Ben Sayers. It has no real architectural merit but it is the oldest golfing ground in the city still used for golf.


Knightswood gets a mention with the suggestion it won't be closed and that I think is to do with it being adjacent with a new state of the art BMX bike track and shared clubhouse. The course itself is a nice enough nine holer that again dates from pre-WWI and possibly pre 20th century.


Setting aside the historic links like Musselburgh, TOC etc, Glasgow was probably the first UK city to provide municipal courses to a great extent. It's a shame that the City might lose that heritage but as I said before I wouldn't assume it's a given that all these courses will close.


Niall

Brian_Ewen

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #180 on: January 29, 2020, 08:34:27 AM »
Thanks Niall.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #181 on: January 29, 2020, 12:12:20 PM »

Indeed, thanks for the info Niall.


As for SG or SGU they have totally failed the game in Scotland and must shoulder a large portion of the blame for the present situation.

Clyde Johnson

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #182 on: January 29, 2020, 03:20:29 PM »
Niall:


Which of the Glasgow courses would you most like saved, if only one?


I know we've talked about this in person, but would any be worth playing before they close for good, if they indeed do?


Cheers.




Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #183 on: January 30, 2020, 01:07:46 AM »
It's not just in Scotland - municipal courses are under threat across England and Wales too, and it's not hard to see why.

Municipal courses were established originally in mainly urban areas to cater for demand from ordinary people who didn't have access to a private club, which were generally rather elite middle-class establishments. Just as importantly, municipal courses were seen as a revenue stream by local authorities - they had the potential of being very profitable.

However, the entire model on which municipal golf was built has in recent years been undermined.

Everyone now has access to to a wide choice of private club or proprietary course - whether as a member or as a green fee payer at an affordable price. This has inevitably led to a drop in demand for municipal golf and a collapse in the price such courses are able to charge.

Far from being profit centres, municipal golf courses are now drains on local authority finances as they fail to cover costs. Add to this the pressure local authorities are under to identify suitable land for housing development and the results are easy to predict.

I can think of no valid argument for local council tax payers being expected to subsidise municipal courses long term when there are so many alternatives available for inexpensive golf.

I would hope that the best municipal courses could be taken over and managed by their members, but given the state of the golf market generally at the lower end this is probably unrealistic. Most muni golfers will simply decamp to a local club or become nomadic GolfNow WhatsApp group players.

Sad in its way, but almost certainly an inevitability...


 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 02:28:25 AM by Duncan Cheslett »

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #184 on: January 30, 2020, 04:41:19 AM »
I have hardened up to the fact it is no longer sad that a golf course is closing.


There are too many so some must close.


Those closing make the others around it stronger.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Niall C

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #185 on: January 30, 2020, 07:57:14 AM »
Niall:


Which of the Glasgow courses would you most like saved, if only one?


I know we've talked about this in person, but would any be worth playing before they close for good, if they indeed do?


Cheers.


Clyde


Architecture wise I'd plump for Littlehill. Emotionally I'm tempted to go for Alexandria Park but that is kind of tempered by the fact that what is there is of no real great merit architecture wise even though it does serve a function of sorts. For you, the one you'd want to see would be Littlehill. It won't necessarily blow you away but I think you'd appreciate the design.


I'll caveat all that by saying I haven't seen Linn Park or indeed Ruchill (well I kind of have through the fence).


Niall

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #186 on: January 30, 2020, 09:36:38 AM »
Niall:


Which of the Glasgow courses would you most like saved, if only one?


I know we've talked about this in person, but would any be worth playing before they close for good, if they indeed do?


Cheers.


Clyde


Architecture wise I'd plump for Littlehill. Emotionally I'm tempted to go for Alexandria Park but that is kind of tempered by the fact that what is there is of no real great merit architecture wise even though it does serve a function of sorts. For you, the one you'd want to see would be Littlehill. It won't necessarily blow you away but I think you'd appreciate the design.


I'll caveat all that by saying I haven't seen Linn Park or indeed Ruchill (well I kind of have through the fence).


Niall

The Ruchill I knew had a couple of burnt out cars strewn across greens, a few needles in the cups and the occasional buckfast-sozzled drunk sleeping in a bunker.

It was pretty much already sunk.

Ryan Coles

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #187 on: January 30, 2020, 04:41:12 PM »
Niall


Are there many middle of the road member clubs that would stand to benefit from the reduction in supply / potential demise of these courses?


Is there much provision between the high end Clubs and these which are proposed to close/be sold off?


Never a fan of courses closing, but I tend to lean towards Duncan’s view that municipal golf provision is not really necessary as things stand.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #188 on: January 30, 2020, 05:15:48 PM »
To check out this thesis, today I stopped in at a small town club in Scotland which I'd never seen in my travels.  (I had only got to about 10km away before.)


They have nine holes of rugged links terrain with a few houses about.  The locker room had 14 lockers; the handicap sheet indicated about 20 full members and 40 seniors.  The honesty tray of used golf balls for 20p was a clear indicator.


I fear its time is short and the local golfers will have to drive to the next town 10 minutes up the road to play.  A shame really as it is a lovely wee course, and once it's gone, the kids who grow up there will be much less likely to take up golf.  The primary school is right next to the clubhouse.  Perhaps they will keep two or three holes even if the club folds?  One can hope.


I wish I had been there on a busier day to meet some of the members and hear what it means to them.

Sean_A

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #189 on: January 30, 2020, 05:35:53 PM »
Tom

It's like many things in life... use it or lose it.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #190 on: January 30, 2020, 05:36:29 PM »
To check out this thesis, today I stopped in at a small town club in Scotland which I'd never seen in my travels.  (I had only got to about 10km away before.)


They have nine holes of rugged links terrain with a few houses about.  The locker room had 14 lockers; the handicap sheet indicated about 20 full members and 40 seniors.  The honesty tray of used golf balls for 20p was a clear indicator.


I fear its time is short and the local golfers will have to drive to the next town 10 minutes up the road to play.  A shame really as it is a lovely wee course, and once it's gone, the kids who grow up there will be much less likely to take up golf.  The primary school is right next to the clubhouse.  Perhaps they will keep two or three holes even if the club folds?  One can hope.


I wish I had been there on a busier day to meet some of the members and hear what it means to them.


Well, you’ve certainly got me trying to guess where you were!
Don’t tell us just yet.
Assuming somewhere between EDI and East Lothian.......
Any Scottish GCAers got any idea...?


M.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Brian_Ewen

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #191 on: January 30, 2020, 08:48:01 PM »
I have hardened up to the fact it is no longer sad that a golf course is closing.


There are too many so some must close.


Those closing make the others around it stronger.


Not when golfers continue to give the game up.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #192 on: January 31, 2020, 01:04:15 AM »
I have hardened up to the fact it is no longer sad that a golf course is closing.


There are too many so some must close.


Those closing make the others around it stronger.


Not when golfers continue to give the game up.



I recall reading figures recently that showed the number of active golfers in Scotland had remained stable with just a small reduction in numbers compared to the previous year but that the fall in golfers who were club members continued showing there was no switch across. In England the number of golfers had actually increased which surprised me.

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #193 on: January 31, 2020, 01:18:26 AM »
My experience of rural Scottish golf is minimal - restricted to a few days spent on Arran last year with my wife after settling our son in at Glasgow University.


We played Shiskine followed by two or three very basic 9-holers which exuded plenty of rustic charm and not a little quirk. We encountered a few members at each - none of whom appeared to be under the age of 75. The lady selling green fees at the 18 hole 4000 yard Whiting Bay GC told us that she had been doing the job for 60 years but had yet to climb the steep 1st hole for a proper look at the course, never mind play it!


Such clubs and courses are in a time warp. One feels as if one is stepping back to the 1950s. Of course, in a busy tourist area such as Arran this is a selling point to golf nerds like those of us on this site and survival is conceivable. In less touristy areas of the mainland I am sure it is another story.


Much as I enjoyed the little clubs and courses on Arran if I was a resident of the island or a regular visitor the only club I would consider joining is Shiskine - even if it meant a 30 minute journey every time I wanted to play golf. I suspect therein lies much of the problem. Increased mobility has expanded the catchment areas of the better quality courses, leaving the rustic local courses struggling for business.


I can't imagine any keen Arran golfer in his 30s, 40s or 50s being happy playing his regular golf at Corrie or Whiting Bay when Shiskine is a shortish drive away. This mindset does not bode well for smaller shoestring clubs anywhere.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 01:24:17 AM by Duncan Cheslett »

Ryan Coles

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #194 on: January 31, 2020, 01:22:00 AM »
I have hardened up to the fact it is no longer sad that a golf course is closing.


There are too many so some must close.


Those closing make the others around it stronger.


Not when golfers continue to give the game up.



I recall reading figures recently that showed the number of active golfers in Scotland had remained stable with just a small reduction in numbers compared to the previous year but that the fall in golfers who were club members continued showing there was no switch across. In England the number of golfers had actually increased which surprised me.


I’d take their stats with a pinch of salt. They have no way of knowing. The only semblance of any reliability is membership numbers.

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #195 on: January 31, 2020, 01:32:59 AM »

I’d take their stats with a pinch of salt. They have no way of knowing. The only semblance of any reliability is membership numbers.


Indeed.


I keep reading figures that something like 60% of golfers do not belong to a club.


This of course, depends on your definition of a golfer. Is the guy who plays in his company golf day once a year a "golfer"?


Golf as a sport relies on addiction. It isn't a pastime to be dipped in and out of. Golf addicts tend to be members of clubs as they can kid themselves (and their wives) that the more they play the better value for money they are getting.


 ;)

Thomas Dai

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #196 on: January 31, 2020, 03:05:46 AM »
To check out this thesis, today I stopped in at a small town club in Scotland which I'd never seen in my travels.  (I had only got to about 10km away before.)
They have nine holes of rugged links terrain with a few houses about.  The locker room had 14 lockers; the handicap sheet indicated about 20 full members and 40 seniors.  The honesty tray of used golf balls for 20p was a clear indicator.
I fear its time is short and the local golfers will have to drive to the next town 10 minutes up the road to play.  A shame really as it is a lovely wee course, and once it's gone, the kids who grow up there will be much less likely to take up golf.  The primary school is right next to the clubhouse.  Perhaps they will keep two or three holes even if the club folds?  One can hope.
I wish I had been there on a busier day to meet some of the members and hear what it means to them.


9-holes, links terrain, few houses about? Primary school next to the Clubhouse?
Would the course/Club happen to be - Tarbat GC at Portmahomack?
atb

Sean_A

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #197 on: January 31, 2020, 03:26:09 AM »

We played Shiskine followed by two or three very basic 9-holers which exuded plenty of rustic charm and not a little quirk. We encountered a few members at each - none of whom appeared to be under the age of 75. The lady selling green fees at the 18 hole 4000 yard Whiting Bay GC told us that she had been doing the job for 60 years but had yet to climb the steep 1st hole for a proper look at the course, never mind play it!

Such clubs and courses are in a time warp. One feels as if one is stepping back to the 1950s. Of course, in a busy tourist area such as Arran this is a selling point to golf nerds like those of us on this site and survival is conceivable. In less touristy areas of the mainland I am sure it is another story.

Much as I enjoyed the little clubs and courses on Arran if I was a resident of the island or a regular visitor the only club I would consider joining is Shiskine - even if it meant a 30 minute journey every time I wanted to play golf. I suspect therein lies much of the problem. Increased mobility has expanded the catchment areas of the better quality courses, leaving the rustic local courses struggling for business.

I can't imagine any keen Arran golfer in his 30s, 40s or 50s being happy playing his regular golf at Corrie or Whiting Bay when Shiskine is a shortish drive away. This mindset does not bode well for smaller shoestring clubs anywhere.

Indeed. It's not like Shikine is a good course either. There are more dull holes than good ones. It's the setting and 12 holes which are the selling points. For many locals that wouldn't mean much.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #198 on: January 31, 2020, 06:55:11 AM »
I think Shiskine is better than that. The first couple of holes and the last hole are the only ones I considered remotely “dull”.


Shiskine put a smile on my face, and more importantly, Jayne’s. I’m pretty sure it would continue to do so with repeated play. It also reinforced my long held view that twelve holes is not only enough, but perfect.

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #199 on: January 31, 2020, 08:15:10 AM »
I have hardened up to the fact it is no longer sad that a golf course is closing.


There are too many so some must close.


Those closing make the others around it stronger.


Not when golfers continue to give the game up.



I recall reading figures recently that showed the number of active golfers in Scotland had remained stable with just a small reduction in numbers compared to the previous year but that the fall in golfers who were club members continued showing there was no switch across. In England the number of golfers had actually increased which surprised me.
I think it is back to the how many rounds do you have to play to be a golfer and of course there is no definitive.
There is a distinct pattern though from
eager player to give up/rarely play


 = a member of a golf club
play for x years get better/ decent handicap/ win competitions


THEN COMES AN EVENT that changes your lifestyle...say a baby but it could be moving jobs, location lots of different reasons non golfing.  YOU FIND THAT YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO PLAY AS MUCH so you stop being a member.


When you play you dont play as well so you dont enjoy it and if you dont enjoy it you dont crave further golf.


YOU ARE STILL A GOLFER BUT you might only play once a year.


STILL AS MANY GOLFERS but distortion of the amount of rounds golfers once played and deep down that is the important figure.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

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