One of Scotland’s most beloved golf clubs is concerned that it “might not exist” beyond the coronavirus crisis.
Brora Golf Club in the Highlands issued the dire warning yesterday after being forced to close temporarily in order to comply with government guidance on how to stop the spread of the disease.
In a message to members, club president Andy Stewart said: “As you will be aware, this virus has wide-ranging effects. The committee, who spend many hours working on behalf of the members, have been working doubly hard just to keep the club going.
“We need the support of all our members at this time if we are to survive. This is a member-owned golf club and the members will determine whether or not we exist beyond this.”
He added: “I am working on a communication for members which will properly clarify the financial position of the club and what we need to do going forward to maintain your club’s survival.”
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Established in 1891, Brora is widely considered to be one of Scotland’s most distinguished ‘hidden gems’. It was originally a nine-hole course, until 1900 when it was extended to 18.
In 1924, five-time Open champion James Braid redesigned the course for the “princely sum” of £25 plus travel expenses.
Another five-time winner of the Claret Jug, the late Peter Thomson, was amongst the club’s biggest fans.
“One of my favourite links is Brora on the Moray Firth, where the golfers share a precious piece of territory with a hundred or so woolly sheep,” the Australian was quoted as saying. “What could epitomise nature better than such a communion? I pray it will continue and last as long as the world.”
Links specialist Tom Watson – also a winner of the Open on five occasions – was made an honorary member of the club in 2018, describing it as a “wonderful” test of golf.