• Main building at Littlehill Golf Course has fallen into disrepair
• The James Braid-design was a former Open qualifying venue
LITTLEHILL GOLF COURSE
A Glasgow community group has raised concerns about the deterioration of their clubhouse amid fears that it may be shut for good and replaced with portacabins to save money.
Littlehill Golf Course in Springburn, a James Braid-designed layout and former Open qualifying venue, has seen its clubhouse fall into disrepair over the past decade and, not being prepared to see the building falter much longer, members made the decision early last year to form the ‘Friends of Littlehill Golf Course’ group to highlight its growing problems to owners Glasgow Life.
But after half a dozen meetings with councillors and MSPs, the group have become increasingly frustrated that no progress has been made on the restoration of the main building at the club, which was the former workplace of Sandy Lyle’s uncle, Walter, who worked there as the professional.
It was incredibly popular too, with the annual Littlehill Open attracting a host of entries, while a newspaper clipping from the 80s called the course ‘one of the city’s gems’ and ‘a jewel in the crown’.
Littlehill clubhouse pics
“Back in the 1980s, you couldn’t get on this course,” said chairman Alec Todd. “You had to queue up until 3pm. We used to have the Littlehill Open every year which Arnold Clark used to sponsor and it was massive.
“The club used to have a starter who worked from 7am until 1pm and you couldn’t get on at the weekends without phoning up and booking a tee time. This was the case up until the 90s when we started to get hit badly by vandalism. From then, I could name 30-40 members who left to join different clubs.”
Almost 100 years old, the clubhouse and golf course was presented as a gift to the people of Glasgow from Sir Hugh Reid, the chief managing director of North British Locomotive Co, in 1921, and was built with the same red brick material as the nearby Stobhill Hospital.
And steeped in such history, the group is desperately disappointed with the clubhouse’s current state and feel it’s turning people away from the course and making them choose to play their golf elsewhere.
“It’s hard for us to try and promote the golfing side of things when the clubhouse is in such a state,” said secretary John Devlin. “It’s the first thing people see when they come to the course and it just isn’t an inviting environment at all.
“We’re being told to think outside the box. ‘What could you bring to the golf club?’ ‘What else could you do to ensure it’s used constantly?’ We feel that there’s a lot of pressure on us to make things happen.”
Four of the Friends of Littlehill's seven committee members. From L-R: Paul Revie, vice-chairman; John Devlin, secretary; Alec Todd, chairman; Robert Stephenson, treasurer.
But the group do have ideas which they feel can improve the club and return it to its former glory, but know that they need significant backing from Glasgow Life if they want any kind of refurbishment plans to materialise.
“I’m convinced that if we were able to renovate the clubhouse and put a good product out there to people, they’d start queuing up again,” said John. “But the fear is, the longer this goes on, the less chance we have of getting this once great clubhouse back to where it was. We’re trying to save this clubhouse not only for us golfers, but also the wider community as we’ve got a hall that could be used for all manner of different things.
“We love the game and we love our course. Everything is at our disposal here to make things happen. But we need to start with the clubhouse.”
Littlehill Golf Course :: Your thoughts
Have you played at Littlehill before? How did you rate it and how sad would you be if the historic clubhouse was to eventually close?