Scottish golf club goes from threatened to thriving

Dunblane New

A golf club in Dunblane has gone from fearing for its future to booming the sport continues to enjoy a post-lockdown boom in Scotland.

When Scotland went into lockdown in March, Dunblane New Golf Club, like businesses across the country, was forced to close without knowing when it would be able to open its doors again.

As the economic reality of the pandemic hit, there were concerns that membership income would dry up, and with the club still having to pay various overheads, there was a very real risk that there would not be a club to reopen when restrictions eased.

However kind-hearted members continued to pay their fees, despite not having a course to play on for nearly three months, and with additional help from a Scottish Government small business grant, the club was able to open again on May 23.

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The staff at the club’s hard work and patience has now been rewarded as demand for tee times and memberships has never been greater with golfers eager to hit the fairways.

Club manager Christopher Spencer explained: “The big concern for clubs when we were closed was with so many members paying by direct debit, would they still want or be able to do that while they couldn’t play?

“We’re very grateful that members have been able to continue paying their direct debits and, as a result, the club is still here to reopen. When things get back to normal we’re looking at ways to reward that loyalty from members.

“We also had to work hard while we were closed to make sure the club survived. We’ve had help from the furlough scheme and we were able to access £25,000 through the Scottish Government’s small business grant scheme. That has made a significant impact and a combination of those factors has meant the club is still here and was ready to reopen when it was safe to do so.

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“We’ve had a big increase in membership enquiries, too. Initially we were seeing four or five enquiries each day from people wanting to join the club.”

With several members working for the NHS and care industry in various roles, the club was keen to give something back and made sure those members were able to fit golf in to their working week.

Chris added: “We made tee times available for them during the week so they didn’t have to scramble for a tee time. It was important for the club to be able to offer whatever we could to help members who are working to keep us all safe.”

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Earlier this week, Scottish Golf reported a significant upturn in club memberships across the country in the weeks since lockdown restrictions started to ease.

The organisation’s chief operating officer Karin Sharp said: “It has been, without a doubt, a trying time for people over the last few months in lockdown but we are delighted to see with the extension to exercise in Scotland that local golf clubs such as Dunblane New Golf Club are seeing a surge in new members.”

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