Communities unite to save municipal courses

Growing Golf

Thousands of people across Scotland have rallied to save three municipal golf courses in the last month, highlighting their importance to communities.

The public courses – Hollandbush, Caird Park and Dalmuir – are all owned and run by different local authorities and were earmarked for closure as cost-saving measures.

However, each proposal was opposed by enough people – a petition to save Dalmuir was signed by more than 7,500 – to convince the councils that the facilities are important assets to their local communities and worth keeping open.

“It is the only municipal golf course in West Dunbartonshire and is due to celebrate its centenary in 2028,” said a statement signed by union president Frank Gloag in response to the proposed closure of Dalmuir Municipal, where a round costs as little as £5.50 ($7).

“Since its opening in 1928 it has given thousands of players their introduction to the game of golf and in the current economic climate it provides many players with an opportunity to play the game that they otherwise might not have.”

We have previously reported that a fast-growing population, competition for urban green space and soaring house prices have piled pressure on clubs and courses, who are then approached by developers with lucrative offers to sell land.

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The new value of golf’s green spaces

The staunch support shown for the three Scottish municipals reflects the sentiment of our feature 'Golf Under Threat?’ which highlights the benefits golf courses can have to people and the planet.

It discusses the rising demand for land – particularly in urban areas – and the ever-growing need for golf to demonstrate its environmental and community value.

John Ashworth, the owner of the eponymous golf clothing brand who 'saved' a municipal course near San Diego from redevelopment more than ten years ago, said: "Once you've established a green space, once you lose it, you lose it forever.

"The people who don't understand what golf brings to a community just say it's a rich person's sport. It's not at all.

"It should be a sport that's promoted more for the masses, and we should look at its virtues, like how it teaches children to be good humans and how it's good for our mental and spiritual health."

To read more about the growing threats facing golf and how the industry can respond, head to: ‘Golf Under Threat?’