EXCLUSIVE

"A sad day" - Glasgow municipal courses set to close

Littlehill

It's official: five of Glasgow's six municipal golf courses are tonight facing up to the very real threat of closure.

At a meeting of the city council earlier this afternoon, a budget tabled by the SNP and Green Party was passed in favour of alternatives put forth by the Labour Party and Conservative Party. 

The SNP/Green budget received 45 votes, as compared to the Labour proposal, which received 25. The Conservatives' budget, which had outlined plans to keep three of the courses open, received just seven votes.

Within the SNP/Green deal was option 20GL15, relating to "Reprovisioning of Golf Service".

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It proposes to retain the nine-hole course at Knightswood under the management of Glasgow Life.

However, the news is not so good for the five other courses currently operated by the local authority: Linn Park, Lethamhill, Littlehill, Alexandra Park and Ruchill. 

Glasgow Life is now required to look into other models for continued golf provision at those locations.

There is a chance that they could still continue as golf courses if, for example, a private investor comes forward. If not, other uses for the land - such as re-wilding - will be looked into.

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A Glasgow City Council spokesman told bunkered.co.uk: “The ambition is to maintain and protect golf provision at the majority of golf courses in the city whilst pursuing innovative approaches to operating models with potential partners.”

Earlier this week, it emerged that a public consultation into the future of the courses, carried out last summer, had found that the majority of respondents were opposed to any course closures.

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In a post on Facebook, a member of the Friends Of Alexandra pressure group described the news as a "sad day" and said that the group would continue to fight against the closures.

Analysis

"Whilst not unexpected, this is a desperately sad day for golfers in Glasgow. Municipal courses have formed a vital and massively under-appreciated part of the golfing pathway in Scotland for many years, providing juniors and complete beginners with a cost effective and relaxed place to take their first swings. 

"The city council found itself in an unenviable position of having to make huge cuts. That much was clear from listening to the various councillors who cut dejected figures as they addressed the City Chambers today. 

"However, that is of little consolation to those who bought into and supported high-profile events such as the 2014 Ryder Cup, 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2018 European Championships and 2019 Solheim Cup, each of which came with much-made promises of 'lasting legacies'. 

"Today's news also sets a worrying precedent. It is my understanding that several other councils - who have been similarly affected by funding cuts from central government - are weighing up what to do with their own golf courses. Now that Glasgow has shown its hand, who's going to be next? And what will be the knock-on effect to golf here in the very country that gave birth to the game? This is a sad and worrying day indeed."

Michael McEwan (@MMcEwanbunkered)

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