Brora feared they would be consumed by the coronavirus crisis - but the golfing community rallied around to save this Highland links

“People realised we have a club worth saving”. That’s how Brora Golf Club have described the global goodwill that has seen the historic links survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Highlands club have offered thanks to golfers around the world after fundraising efforts saw a six figure amount raised to secure their future.

Brora feared they “might not exist” beyond the Covid-19 closure of UK courses, such was their dependence on visitor revenues cut short by lockdown.

But their plea sparked an international response and the new-found love for the James Braid-designed course saw them raise large sums through new membership categories, advance tee-time bookings, merchandise sales and website donations.

Five-time Open champion Tom Watson, an honorary member, tweeted his support while, with the majority of staff furloughed, a four-person team dealt with 500 online pro shop sales and spread the word about the club through social media and website updates.

The club generated 80 new members, with seven of those paying £10,000 each for a Platinum option – all of which has left the club sitting in a far healthier financial position.

President Andy Stewart said: “We were looking forward to a bumper year of visitor numbers, projected at £350,000, before the Covid-19 pandemic halted us in our tracks in March.

“With a dependence on visitor income, we have had to be creative in our thinking to drive new revenue and we have simply been overwhelmed with the love for us from across the world.

“Tony Gill, our general manager, has been dealing with a flood of emails about memberships and various offers of support, while Malcolm (Murray, pro) has done a great job on social media to spread the word to our growing audiences and enjoy large shop sales.

“I think we always knew we had members and visitors who love our links. But, when that support all comes together at once, I think it has just been incredible for all of us to realise just how well regarded the golf club is. It really has been fantastic.”

Brora were founded in 1891 and the cash raised should see the club through the rest of 2020 without having to borrow any funds. They are also hoping to run their five-day open later in the year if domestic travel is permitted.

Stewart added: “It’s almost like the world now understands what we have here at Brora and people realised we have a club worth saving.

“We offer our thanks to all who have supported us and look forward to seeing members and visitors enjoying Brora again in the weeks and months ahead.”

Did you help Brora Golf Club in their time of need? Let me know what you did in the comments, or tweet me.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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