Council launch innovative new golf club
Karin Sharp, Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Golf and Alasdair Malcolm, County Golf Secretary at the Ayrshire Golf Association, were on hand to celebrate the official launch of South Ayrshire Council's new landmark golf club.
The innovative Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club has been set up to attract first time club members and families to help grow the game.
The club's inclusive outlook has already attracted over 180 golfers, including over 100 who are in the process of obtaining a golfing handicap for the first time!
This new format will allow men, women and juniors the opportunity to compete together in the same competition.
Councillor Chris Cullen, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "The club has been running since February 2021 and while still in its infancy, the early signs are that it's encouraging first time club members to hone their skills and hopefully progress onto one of the many established clubs who are affiliated to play on our courses.
"Throughout the pandemic, golf has shown itself to be a great way of staying active and improving mental health and wellbeing. The game has never been more popular, and I hope that this trend continues for many years to come."
Karin Sharp, Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Golf, said: "It has been great to visit and meet with some of the new Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club Members.
"At Scottish Golf, our aim is to make golf Scotland's Game for Everyone and this new golf club recognises that the way people consume the game has changed a great deal in recent years. Golfers are looking for more flexibility and a model of membership that suits their lifestyle and other commitments that they may have and Golf South Ayrshire's vision for their new golf club provides golfers in the region the option to access golf in a flexible way. We fully believe that this approach can only help make the game more accessible and inclusive to a wider community of golfers.
"Whilst we've seen a really encouraging increase in golfer numbers across the last year, the longer-term trend before the pandemic saw a consistent reduction of around 5,000 members a year over the previous 10 years. In order to reverse this trend, it is vital that as a sport, we explore alternative approaches to make sure the game remains relevant and accessible to the modern golfer and more people try the sport for the first time."
Alasdair Malcolm, County Golf Secretary at the Ayrshire Golf Association said:" The Ayrshire Golf Association welcomes the Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club as one of our 64 member clubs. The concept is fairly unique in the area, allowing men, women and junior golfers to compete together in the same competitions and give golfers, whether new to the game or who have played in the past, another alternative to engage in the sport.
"Hopefully the Golf South Ayrshire Golf Club will act as a gateway club for many players who have never been or are not presently members of a club. This experience will help those who choose to develop a greater interest in competitive golf, the opportunity to progress to membership of other established clubs in the area, which will benefit our wider club membership."
Keen golfers Matt Davidson and Elias Caven are already playing competitions as a result of joining the club. The pair who also play rugby for the Ayrshire Bulls, said: "We've played on the Golf South Ayrshire courses in both Ayr and Troon and the golf club put out a request to other members, who had a handicap, to score for us so we could get our own handicaps, this has allowed us to play in competitions which is great".