Lothianburn golf club closes as membership falls

Swanston Golf Clubhouse. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Swanston Golf Clubhouse. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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ONE of the Capital’s oldest golf courses has been forced to close due to its steadily ­dwindling membership.

Lothianburn, which has a proud history dating back to 1892, has now entered sequestration after officials decided they were unable to keep it afloat.

The decision comes as the membership roll fell to 300 –just eight years ago the club boasted more than 800 ­members.

Lothianburn captain Alan Greenshields said: “The Lothians is now at saturation point in terms of the number of golf clubs and actual golf players. There have been a number of new golf clubs opening in the last few years but there hasn’t been the same take up in ­numbers of those playing.

“Added to this within the clubhouse there is not the same revenue or income as there once was while you have a number of sites like Groupon and Amazon also selling cheap golf packages.

“The average guy just doesn’t want to part with the cost of an annual membership.”

He added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many more clubs just like us across the Lothians.”

The clubhouse closed its doors for the last time on September 20, although the golf course remains open for play by members and visitors with bookings.

Check-in will take place at the nearby Swanston New Golf Club which has also offered all LGC members the right to play on their courses, at no extra charge, until the end of the year.

In addition Swanston members will have the opportunity to play Lothianburn for the remainder of 2013.

This will allow both Lothianburn and Swanston officials an opportunity to sit down over the next four months and discuss ways to make the most of the clubs facilities for their combined 1,100 members.

Lothianburn landlords, Swanston Farm, has generously waived the rent due for the remainder of 2013 whilst also covering greenkeeping costs.

Alan added: “It’s sad because there is great tradition and heritage at Lothianburn. All options are still on the table - which ones are practical will largely depend upon how many Lothianburn members decide to renew their membership in 2014.” Lothianburn Golf Club was originally a nine-hole course, it was extended to 18 holes in 1903.

The course was overhauled in 1929 by Open champion and renowned course designer James Braid. The clubhouse is home to a portrait of “Silver Scot” Tommy Armour - the club’s most notable member who won the US Open in 1927, the USPGA title in 1930 and The Open in 1931 at Carnoustie.