Blair­beth Golf Club to shut

Debts force com­mit­tee to pull the plug af­ter 105 years

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

A golf club based in Fern­hill is be­ing forced to close af­ter 105 years in ex­is­tence.

Mem­bers of Blair­beth were last week told the club would cease trad­ing to­day (Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 14) due to debts in ex­cess of £135,000.

An email went out on Thurs­day while golfers ar­riv­ing at the club­house over the week­end were left stunned to see no­tices in­form­ing them that the last day of play was due to be Sun­day (Oc­to­ber 11).

Mem­bers have un­til 5pm to­day to clear out their lock­ers be­fore the club­house is locked up.

Four staff em­ployed by the club were told the news last week.

The move comes just weeks af­ter an EGM voted to cut the course to nine holes in a des­per­ate at­tempt to save money on fuel costs.

Cap­tain Davie McKay told the Re­former this week: “We all got to­gether on Sun­day to play the ‘Sny­der Cup’ be­tween out 9.30am groups and the 12.30pm guys.

“De­spite ev­ery­thing there was a fan­tas­tic at­mos­phere. There were lots and lots of tears shed from men you would not think had a tear in them.

“One older mem­ber, I could hardly look him in the eye.

“The last eight to 10 years, the club has been un­steady. I don’t think any­one could have worked any harder than my­self and my vice-cap­tain, Craig Craw­ford.

“We were all very up­set on Sun­day.”

Although the course has been plagued by ru­mours for the past few years, the news still came as a shock to mem­bers and staff.

One of the bar staff, Mandy Al­lum, de­scribed the news was “heart-break­ing.”

The 42-year-old from Fern­hill has worked there for nine years, and said: “I’m gut­ted, it’s a crack­ing wee club.

“It’s just hor­ri­ble, I just kept think­ing ‘it’s not go­ing to shut, it will never shut’.

“When I first started in here it was so busy, but it’s just gone down­hill.

“I don’t blame the com­mit­tee or Davie. I feel sorry for him, he tried ev­ery­thing to keep it go­ing.”

Mem­ber Phil McFar­lane (74), from Ruther­glen, had played at Blair­beth for 50 years, and said: “A lot of the guys are go­ing to re­ally miss this place.

“I ac­tu­ally en­joyed the nine holes be­cause it was an eas­ier walk, I thought it was go­ing to be great.

“The prob­lems have been go­ing on for years, and last year we had 40 mem­bers walk out and that more or less set­tled it.”

Another mem­ber, who did not wish to be named, said the club had suf­fered a “slow, lin­ger­ing death,” adding: “It’s very sad what’s hap­pened.”

Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly said he still re­tained hope the course could be saved: “This is re­ally dis­ap­point­ing news about Blair­beth Golf Club.

“I know that many lo­cal golfers have a strong af­fec­tion for the course.

“I en­joyed a few rounds of golf there my­self as a young­ster. I know the course like other cour­ses in the area had suf­fered a drop off in mem­bers and the club had taken steps to try and sus­tain the fu­ture of the course.

“Even at this late stage, I will sup­port and work with any­one on any plans that can be de­vel­oped to save the course.”

Fond farewell Blair­beth mem­bers join to­gether on the old first tee for the fi­nal time on Sun­day

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