• Perthshire course to shut this month
• Staff informed of the decision last week
• “It is absolutely devastating” says club employee
The 18-hole course, near Alyth, was sold to housing developers last week, with staff informed of the news at a meeting last Friday. It will close its doors for the last time on October 31.
Glenisla opened in 1995 and was designed by Tony Wardle, a golf course architect who has worked alongside the likes of Robert Trent Jones and Jack Nicklaus. Developed originally by the Glenshee Chairlift Company as a summer business to make use of its full-time ski employees during the off-season, it was bought out of receivership by the Somerville family in 2004.
In 2014, it was recognised for its value for money at the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards.
It currently has around 150 members, all of whom will now have to find somewhere else to play.
Speaking to bunkered.co.uk, club employee Pat Heys described the news as ‘absolutely devastating’.
“As you can imagine, everybody is very upset” – Pat Heys, Glenisla employee
“The course had been up for sale for some time before coming off the market,” explained Heys. “So, it came as a real shock to everyone to be called into a meeting on Friday where we told that the sale of the land to a property developer had been completed the day before. As you can imagine, everybody is very upset.
Glenisla currently employs around a dozen full-time staff. “I’m close to retirement but you feel for people like our greenkeepers who have young families to provide for and who now need to find other work,” added Heys. “It’s terribly sad. We have been told that there’s a chance a new nine-hole course may be developed on the site at some point in the future but, if that happens, it would be years from now.”
Heys went on to say that the course had fallen victim in recent years to a value-driven society.
“Everybody wants a deal these days,” she said. “Nobody wants to pay the full rate. It’s understandable but it still makes things hard and drives prices down. It’s unfortunate that it has come to this but it has happened now and there’s nothing we can do.”
Glenisla is the latest Scottish golf course to close in recent years, following the likes of Lothianburn, Torphin Hills, Kames and Rutherford Castle. The latter closed at the start of 2015, at which point it reportedly had only 56 members.
Castle Park, in East Lothian, also closed its doors at the beginning of the start of 2015 only to re-open weeks later, whilst Whitekirk Country Club, also in East Lothian, closed ‘temporarily’ in February this year. There are indications of when – indeed, if – it might re-open.
What do you make of the news that Glenisla is set to shut its doors this month? Have you played there? What have been your experiences of it? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.