Bob MacIntyre fears for future of beloved Glencruitten amid current 'doom and gloom'

Glencruitten Golf Club will always be close to Bob MacIntyre's heart. He cut his golfing teeth on the course high above Oban, the family home sits close to the 12th tee and his dad, Dougie, is the greenkeeper.

By Martin Dempster
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 8:33 am
Bob MacIntyre, pictured during last year's Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, lives close to the 12th tee at Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban. Picture: Aberdeen Standard Investments
Bob MacIntyre, pictured during last year's Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, lives close to the 12th tee at Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban. Picture: Aberdeen Standard Investments

Last summer, in the build up to his Open Championship debut, MacIntyre sat in the corner of the wooden clubhouse as he chatted to a group of golf journalists and you could just sense his feeling of pride.

Today, along with every other golf course in Scotland, the fairways at Glencruitten are lying empty, having been closed for the past week due to the government guidelines imposed in the ongoing fight with the coronavirus.

Lots of people have been talking about golf's plight at the moment, but few are actually seeing it unfold in front of their eyes on a day-to-day basis.

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"It's looking dome and gloom just now," said MacIntyre, last season's European Tour Rookie of the Year, in a teleconference of his beloved home club. "Dad’s not working, it’s all shut down, just folk out walking dogs and stuff, which is sad to see when it’s such a good wee golf course.

"It was the only form exercise for about a week and a half there when every other sport was shut down. It’s just something that needed to be done."

Glencruitten should be eligible for a one-off grant of £25,000 being offered by the government to help leisure businesses.

For the time being, however, there will be no income being generated from visitors, some of whom would probably have been attracted by MacIntyre helping put the club on the map, while the clubhouse will be lying dormant at weekends, when it is normally busy with functions.

"Yes, I do," replied MacIntyre to being asked if he feared the club might find itself struggling to survive once the current world health crisis is over. "I think there’s a lot of courses that is going to happen to. We’re such a small community and, with so many different sports, the golf course isn’t there to make money, it’s there just to survive.

"That was through functions and all the visitors. Now this has happened it’s knocked it on the head and there’s no functions at all, anywhere. That was our main income at the club, so now it’s just about battening up the hatches and trying to just hold out."

MacIntyre, who sits 67th in the now frozen world rankings, makes no secret of the fact he loves life at home. Therefore, spending lots of time at the moment with his parents, Dougie and Carol, his sisters, Gillian and Nicola, and the family's two foster children, Thomas and Dan, is by no means difficult. Far from it, in fact.

"We’ve got plenty to do," he said of coping with the current confinement to barracks. "Dan the man especially, he keeps us busy, gets you running about. We’ve got loads of room where we live. We’ve got the golf course on both sides and the forest about 200 yards away. You can stay out the way of people but still stay busy if you want to go walking.

"I have taken a shift on the home schooling, too. I’m dodging it just now – my mum is down the stairs helping the boys. But I’ve done the last few days. Trying to tick over my brain. I used to be all right at maths. It’s the English that gets me, asking me questions about that – I’m passing that straight on to my mum or my sister!"

Thanks to his dad putting up a practice net in the garden, the 23-year-old is able to hit shots on a daily basis. That is proving helpful as he beds in a new grip to combat the hand and arm problems that had been hindering him at the start of the 2020 campaign.

"I’m working on my technique to get it more sound with a different grip," he said of the serious stuff.

Life in the MacIntyre household is also about fun, though, as evidenced when he posted a video on social media last weekend of him chipping out of an open upstairs window into a bucket of water on the back of a small quad bike being driven by the aforementioned Dan.

"I was just up in my room and my mum was wanting me to do some painting round the house," he said, laughing. "I was getting changed and I thought I could hit something out the window into the wheelie bins that we moved into the middle of the grass.

"I started off chipping into the wheelie bins from my bedroom. Then, I thought it was too easy. So we moved it on to one of the boys in the buggy with a bucket of water in the back. It took about 15 attempts to get it!"

Keeping active for MacIntyre, who is set to be tempted by some fresh home baking by his sisters, includes using a Peloton exercise app.

"It’s on overheat just now as we’ve been using that non-stop," he said. "I’ve seen Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy’s numbers and they’re not even normal, it’s not human the numbers they churn out.

"A guy I know through county golf and the shinty, he’s got one of them and we were doing it yesterday. It’s good that you can go up against someone and they push you, even if they’re fitter than you it pushes you more. I’m feeling my legs a bit tight today.

"I'm happy just being King of the Oban mountains. We’ll take the Oban mountains over any place in the world!"

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