OPINION

An open letter to Glasgow City Council

Golf Course Closed

Dear Glasgow City Council,

Allow me to share with you the words of your former leader, Steven Purcell, when it was announced in November 2007 that Glasgow had won the right to stage the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“The hard work starts here,” he said. “This is not about politicians taking glory, or about the sporting world coming to Glasgow on its own.

“It's about making sure there is a lasting legacy.”

There it is. The good old ‘L’ word. The political justification for spending large amounts of public money on vanity projects.

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Skip forward in time, past the Games itself, to July 2015. An official report into the Games said it was worth £740m to the Scottish economy. It also estimated that Glasgow itself gained over £390m.

So why did the ‘hard work’ stop there?

Where has that money gone?

Why are five of the six golf courses that you operate being lined up for closure?

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It’s being reported that the rounds played at these six courses has fallen by 15% in four years.

One: care to publish those numbers?

Two: how much money has been invested not just in the maintenance of the courses but in marketing them? You know, actively letting people know they exist and are relatively inexpensive to use?

As you know, we (bunkered) publish Scotland’s only golf magazine and a complementary and fast-growing digital platform. We connect golf businesses with golfers, particularly here in Scotland. North and South Lanarkshire, North and South Ayrshire, Falkirk, Fife, Edinburgh, Aberdeen – local authorities in each of these regions have partnered with us to successfully promote their golf properties.

You never have. How strange.

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It says on the website of Glasgow Life, the organisation to which you have devolved the management of the city’s six municipal courses, that the city’s sports facilities exist “to inspire the city’s citizens and visitors to lead richer and more active lives through culture, sport and learning”

How are they meant to do that if you insist on closing them?

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I get it. Books need to be balanced and blah, blah, blah. Question: how has a city which profited so significantly from two multi-national, multi-sports events in the last five-and-a-half years (don’t think we’ve forgotten about the European Championships) end up with huge holes in its accounts? And who’s going to accept responsibility? Because it looks like the city’s golfers are going to be the ones carrying the can – and that’s not on.

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I’m not going to try to change your mind. According to reports, it’s already made up.

Instead, I’ll leave it at this. Next time you want to make yourselves look good using public cash, don’t patronise us with talk of ‘legacies’. We’re just not buying it anymore.

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