ANOTHER of the Capital’s older golf courses is facing closure after its dwindling membership left a huge hole in its funds.
Torphin Hill Golf Club in Colinton desperately needs a £20,000 cash injection to survive, but has just 200 players on its books – less than half its all-time high of 500.
Bosses at the club, which was established in 1895, have slashed annual running costs in recent years from £200,000 to £130,000, but have been unable to steady the ship.
A crunch meeting has now been called for December 16, when committee members are expected to close the club’s doors for good.
The hammer blow comes just months after Lothianburn Golf Club was forced out of business – after its membership fell from 800 to 300 in just eight years – with fears more clubs could end up in the rough in the coming years.
We previously told how factors threatening golf clubs include the recession hitting the “squeezed middle”, hikes in green fees to cover public insurance liability costs and fairways becoming attractive to housing developers.
Changes to drink-driving laws have also seen clubhouse profits dry up, while discount websites such as Groupon and Amazon have been selling cheap packages for rounds on various courses.
Torphin Hill club secretary Christopher Davies said: “We are all desperately sad about this but we are stuck with a conundrum.
“You need at least 300 or 400 members to run a club but these days young people do not want to pay an annual membership to just one club.
“We have cut costs where possible but the fact is we’re not attracting enough new members.
“The club has been in crisis for some time but it’s a crisis affecting the whole Lothian golfing community, not just us. It’s a sad day for the club.”
Torphin Hill, which has been on its present site since 1903, originated through the amalgamation of several printing firms playing for the Edinburgh Federation Shield team trophy, which still exists today.
Alan Shaw, vice-president of the Lothian Golf Association, said the demise of Torphin Hill would drive a wedge through the golfing sector.
He said: “We have seen figures dropping away over the last three or four years and it is very disappointing to see long-running, historic clubs such as Lothianburn and Torphin Hill in the trouble they have found themselves.
“It’s not looking good in the Lothians for golf at the moment – numerous other clubs are also suffering.”
OPEN WAS WORTH £70M TO LOTHIANS
THIS year’s Open Championship at Muirfield delivered a near £70 million benefit to East Lothian and Edinburgh, it has been claimed by organiser The R&A.
Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre surveyed more than 2000 spectators to reach their economic impact finding.
The headline figure for East Lothian and Edinburgh includes a £24.4m spent in the region and £45m worth of promotional activity from exposure on global television. Across Scotland, the championship was worth £88m to the economy.
The Open, which was played at the historic course in July, was won by American Phil Mickelson (above).