Scotland: Ancient Perthshire course saved from closure

Pitlochry Golf creates arrangement with Blair Atholl GC.

The future of struggling Perthshire course Blair Atholl has been secured after Pitlochry Golf Ltd stepped in to help.

Blair Atholl has been a part of the Perthshire community since 1896 and its James Braid-designed 9-hole course attracted 450 members only two decades ago.

However, falling membership has placed it in financial difficulty and the membership of 100 was no longer viable.

Aware of the resurgence at Pitlochry, which has seen a 25 per cent growth in membership in five years, Blair Atholl’s Ian Rattray and David Morrison approached the course and a partnership has now been formed.

Club captain Morrison, who joined the club 47 years ago aged just 8, said: “I think if we had stayed the way we were for another two or three years, we would have to close the doors forever.”
‘It would have been a huge tragedy’ “This has secured the future of the club and I am very excited about it. I’d love to see the clubhouse packed again like it used to be, for oglers and locals alike because the club is part of the community.”

Members will now be able to play at both clubs, while Pitlochry Golf Ltd will operate both clubs and have investment plans for the clubhouse and catering.

“The first aim, obviously, is to ensure Blair Atholl has a long-term future,” said director Jon Erasmus. “We will work with the membership to create a commercial entity that, in time, can stand on its own two feet because this is a vital community resource.

“Pitlochry was in a relatively similar circumstance five years ago but we have managed to employ more people, build an academy and we are now developing the course, which will continue.”

Fellow director Richard Drummon outlined some initial investments plans for Blair Atholl, with officials impressed by the work of head greenkeeper Stuart Griffiths.

He said: “The course is in very good condition and we’d like this to be known, firstly, as the best 9-hole course in Perthshire.”

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