A new council-run golf club membership scheme was launched in South Ayrshire last month with officials hailing it a landmark development for the game.
The ‘Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club‘ has been set up to attract first-time members and families, with the aim of growing the sport and make it more accessible to all. The ‘club’ is an affiliate membership scheme which provides access to eight publicly-run courses in the South Ayrshire Region. The courses are Belleisle, Seafield, Dalrey, Lochgreen, Fullarton, Girvan, Dalmilling and Maybole.
Adult members can pay £399 for a five-day annual season ticket or £499 for seven-day ticket, which gives access to visitor online booking times at the eight courses, plus discounted green fees at over 300 courses throughout the UK.
Young adults (19-25) pay £259, and those aged 26-30 pay £369. Juniors aged 16-18 are charged £99 per year, while those aged 13-15 pay £49 and under 12s are charged £3. There is also a Flexi membership scheme which enables bundles of credits to be bought in exchange for green fees.
Over 180 golfers have already signed up to the club, and more than 100 of those are in the process of obtaining a golfing handicap for the first time through Scottish Golf’s new scheme for golfers that are not members of golf clubs.
The club is affiliated to Scottish Golf, which offer members the opportunity to obtain a WHS Handicap and play in official club competitions, as well as opening the door to being able to play in Open Competitions throughout the world and access to many of the courses which request a handicap certificate to play. In addition to the weekly 9- and 18-hole strokeplay and stableford competitions, there will be a number of mixed opens held throughout the season. There will also be exclusive social events and member only coaching sessions and clinics.
Speaking about the new club, Karin Sharp, Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Golf, said: “I think this is great. Anything that we as an industry can do to support younger golfers into the game is absolutely critical to the long-term viability of golf in Scotland. There are a lot of perceptions that surround the game and it’s great to see the likes of South Ayrshire, with the range of facilities available, offering that introductory step to people that is maybe not quite as daunting as joining a private facility.”
Alasdair Malcolm, county golf secretary at the Ayrshire Golf Association, said: ”The Ayrshire Golf Association welcomes the Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club as one of our 64 member clubs. The concept is fairly unique in the area, but it will give golfers, whether new to the game or who have played in the past, another alternative to engage in the sport. Hopefully it will act as a gateway club for many players who have never been or are not presently members of a club, and provide the opportunity to progress to membership of other established clubs in the area, which will benefit our wider club membership.”
Councillor Chris Cullen, South Ayrshire’s economy and culture spokesman, said: “While still in its infancy, the early signs are that The Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club is encouraging first time club members to hone their skills and hopefully progress onto one of the many established clubs who are affiliated to play on our courses.”