One of Scotland’s oldest golf courses has a bright future again, just a few years after being threatened with closure.
Membership at North Inch Golf Course in Perth has almost tripled in the last six years, with overall revenue rising almost £130,000.
The city centre course was previously at risk of closure due to financial problems.
After strong local pressure and protest, Perth and Kinross Council began a six-year project to boost the club’s fortunes and keep the course open.
The course is described by Beazley’s World Atlas of Golf as the world’s “first recognisable golf course” and King James VI among the first to have played a round on it in the 1500s.
The council also came under fire in 2019 for a 26% rise in price in a season ticket for pensioners, some said the club was “old-aged pensioner bashing”.
Increase in users and members
Since the council’s business plan was put in place in 2016, the course has continued to grow in success.
It is due to end in March, after the following successes:
- The number of rounds played has more than doubled from from 8,679 to 17,956
- Membership almost tripled
- Season ticket holders have increased from 175 to more than 500, increasing income from £26,230 to £106,586
- The daily revenue from green fees has increased from £15,976 to £51,652.
- The overall revenue rose from, £42,206 to £136,512. By the end of the financial year it has been projected to rise to £170,000
- User satisfaction increased from 58% to 87%
‘Something everyone can be proud of’
Councillor Angus Forbes, the council’s environment and infrastructure convener, said: “The rejuvenation of North Inch Golf Course is something everyone in Perth and Kinross can be proud of and it is a real asset for the community.
“The team has done excellent work over the past six years and the new business plan sets out how the course will continue to develop and attract new players.
“Golf has been played on North Inch for over 500 years and it has an exciting future.
“Golf saw a rise in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown but the golf course was also experiencing a rise in popularity before then.
“Our new business plan will help build on this, while ensuring golf on the North Inch remains affordable and accessible to all.”
Councillor Grant Laing, who sits on the environment and infrastructure committee, said: “I’m really happy to see the success that this business has had since the business plan was put in place.
‘Great asset to Perth’
“I was on the committee at the time and part of the administration when this was implemented so I remember the discussions at the time so it’s great to see how well it has done.
“A well done also needs to go to the officers and Niall McGill (golf course officer) and his team there for all of their work to achieve their targets, all through Covid and the pandemic as well. Niall has got some really innovative ideas that are a great benefit.
“The course is a great asset to the people of Perth and Kinross and I hope it continues to thrive.”