• Lothians club 'urgently' seeking new owners
• Current owners planning to retire
• Fear of closure if a buyer cannot be found soon
CASTLE PARK GC | EAST LOTHIAN
As Gullane gears up to welcome the Scottish Open to East Lothian for the first-ever time this summer, a club just 14 miles away is facing a desperate fight for survival.
Castle Park in Gifford is urgently seeking someone to take it over, following the decision by its current owners to put it up for sale.
And, according to past captain Colin McArthur, there is a genuine concern amongst the club’s 350-plus members that if a suitable buyer cannot be found within the next three months, the 165-acre development could be returned to agriculture.
“There has been a little bit of interest since the club went on the market around three weeks ago but none of that has turned into an offer just yet,” McArthur told bunkered.co.uk. “It’s a worrying time. There’s not enough money in the club to complete a members’ buy-out so we are just hoping that somebody comes in.
“The current owners have been running the club for the last nine years or so but they are based in Cumbria and in their 70s so, understandably, they are ready for retirement.
“From what I gather, they would definitely prefer to sell to someone who will continue to run it as a golf club but they want out and I just have a sneaky feeling that if it doesn’t sell within three months then a local farmer might step in as it is a great piece of land. That, of course, would be a huge shame and hopefully it doesn’t come to that.”
"It’s essential we find new owners." - Colin McArthur, Castle Park past captain
Ironically, it was a farmer who originally laid out the course at Castle Park on the site of the old deer park for the nearby Yester Castle.
Opened in June 1994, it was originally a nine-hole course but proved so popular so quickly that it was soon upgraded to 18 holes. It currently has full planning consent for seven five-bedroom houses on adjacent land, whilst plans have also been approved for a brand new clubhouse.
Progressing all of that, however, is dependent on finding new owners.
“We’re a family friendly club, with a great atmosphere, and we’ve constantly made efforts to improve our course,” added McArthur. “For example, over 5,000 trees were planted on the front nine – the ‘new’ nine – in recent years and it would be great to see them given the opportunity to mature and grow, and for the club to become as good as we all know it can be. That’s why it’s essential we find new owners.”
Castle Park :: Find out more
Prospective buyers are invited to call Castle Park's owners on 07767 148277 for more information and to discuss a price.
Picture: David J. Whyte