A troubled Angus golf club once labelled the “Augusta of the North” could close before the start of next season.
The 12 committee members of Letham Grange Golf Club, on the outskirts of Arbroath, have recommended to its 275 members they vote to disband their much-loved club.
The news comes as a further blow to the sport in Tayside after Dundee City Council voted to close Camperdown Golf Course last month.
Letham Grange Golf Club members have maintained and operated its two courses since April 2011 while a long running legal dispute continued over ownership of the courses and the neighbouring Letham Grange Hotel.
The dispute ended last year with the hotel and courses returning to Taiwanese owner Peter Liu, whose firm Letham Grange Development Company had previously collapsed in 2002.
The golf club committee has now asked its members to attend an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on September 24 at which they plan to lay out more detail on the “rigid case” for closure.
Bruce Currie, honorary secretary, said there was “nothing he could say at present” about the reasons behind the committee’s closure recommendation.
He said: “We have considered it and will put a rigid case to members when they meet on September 24. Full information will be given at the meeting.”
He said the club had fewer members than in previous years but the courses’ popularity was not the key issue.
“Membership has held up well over the last couple of years. We have provided nine summers of golf with no financial support apart from the membership,” he added.
The club had set about rebuilding its membership after its rolling one-year “licence to occupy” was upgraded to a three-year deal in 2016.
Opened in 1987 by Sir Henry Cotton, magazine Golf Monthly once bracketed Letham Grange alongside Augusta National, the home of the US Masters.
The two courses – the Old Course and the Glens Course – remained operational when the Letham Grange Hotel shut in 2004.
David Cook, a long-term former member, said ownership issues had affected the club for many years.
He said: “Both courses were great. It’s so sad. The volunteers and employees of the golf club did their best in more recent times.”
He said troubled ownership and management had “let this local asset down”.
“It wasn’t known as ‘The Augusta of Scotland’ for nothing. It is a superb setting and an excellent test of golf.
“The legal issues caused folk to look elsewhere for membership. The course drew me back for a couple of years but it was obviously in need of investment.”
The club uses the closed hotel for changing facilities and as an area for refreshments.
Other members and past members reacted with sadness but not surprise to the news of the EGM. Many thanked the volunteers and staff who had worked to keep the courses open since 2011.
The 15-year ownership dispute over the Victorian mansion house and its two golf courses was believed to be among the longest running legal tussles in Scottish legal history.