Golf: Lothianburn seeks link with Swanston New

Proud history: Sinclair Mackie, captain of Lothianburn Golf Club in 1975, accepts the gift of a picture illustrating golf in the olden days from Piccadilly representative Eddie Thomson.  This was the club's reward for reaching the final stages of a Piccadilly pro-am tournament.  Left to right, two members of the winning team, Derek Curran and William Blanch, Sinclair Mackie, Ian Mathie, club secretary, and Eddie Thomson.
Proud history: Sinclair Mackie, captain of Lothianburn Golf Club in 1975, accepts the gift of a picture illustrating golf in the olden days from Piccadilly representative Eddie Thomson. This was the club's reward for reaching the final stages of a Piccadilly pro-am tournament. Left to right, two members of the winning team, Derek Curran and William Blanch, Sinclair Mackie, Ian Mathie, club secretary, and Eddie Thomson.
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THE captain of closure-threatened Lothianburn has outlined the battle plan that aims to demonstrate “golf in the foothills of the Pentlands is very much alive”.

As revealed in the Evening News last month, Lothianburn is in danger of becoming the first established club in the Lothians to be forced to close its doors.

Discussions are taking place with neighbours Swanston New to see if the two clubs can share courses, a clubhouse and staff as a frantic effort is made to keep the Lothianburn name alive. Club captain, Alan Greenshields, is working closely with his Swanston New counterpart Forsyth Henderson and Colin McClung of landlord Swanston Farm while the umbrella organisation, Edinburgh Golf, is also providing input.

“During my captaincy at Lothianburn, I have met with Colin McClung several times along with Graham Brown, my vice captain, and we have been eager to explore ways in which golf can be preserved at Lothianburn,” said Greenshields.

“At a recent members’ meeting at Lothianburn a mandate was given to open discussions with Swanston New Golf Club to explore ways the clubs could work together.”

Both Lothianburn and Swanston New are situated on land rented from Swanston Farm, whose owners are showing sympathy with Lothianburn’s plight.

“Swanston Farm have stated they will work with Lothianburn members to keep the clubhouse and course open 
until the end of the season,” added Greenshields.

“It will give time for Lothianburn and Swanston New to explore ways in which all the combined 1,000 members can share a clubhouse, golf courses and staff.

“Over the next few months, both clubs will spend time discussing many possible changes that our combined 1,000 members will be able to vote on.

“The planned outcome is to demonstrate golf in the foothills of the Pentlands is very much alive.”

Historically, golf clubs have shown a reluctance to work together, especially those in close proximity as they saw each other as competition.

But, earlier this year, 13 Capital clubs, including Swanston New and Lothianburn, bucked that trend by forming a partnership called Edinburgh Golf. “Times are changing and there is now very much a willingness for clubs to work with each other for their mutual benefit,” added Greenshields.

“One of the fundamental reasons for forming the Edinburgh Golf initiative is that we all recognise that competition for golf memberships is coming from more than what each clubs offers in terms of price and benefits, it’s from all forms of indoor and outdoor leisure activities.

“The message we all want to get across to families is the health, sporting and friendship benefits that come with a membership of a local golf club.

“If Swanston and Lothianburn can do this better together then this is the time to begin discussions on whether some form of stronger partnership can be formed that will benefit both sets of members.”