Coronavirus: Brora Golf Club 'might not exist' beyond shutdown

Brora Golf Club, one of Scottish golf's hidden gems, has issued a warning to members that it “might not exist” beyond the closure of courses from the coronavirus pandemic.

Brora Golf Club in the Highlands is one of five-time Open champion Peter Thomson's favourite courses in Scotland

The worrying message was delivered by club president Andy Stewart as the popular Highlands venue joined the mass closure of courses in Scotland following the Government announcing its latest steps to combat the deadly virus.

He said: “As you will be aware, this virus has wide-ranging effects. The committee, who spend many hours working on behalf of the members, have been working doubly hard just to keep the club going.

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“We need the support of all our members at this time if we are to survive. This is a member-owned golf club and the members will determine whether or not we exist beyond this.”

Brora, which was founded in 1891, is one of five-time Open champion Peter Thomson's favourite courses in Scotland, while fellow five-time Claret Jug winner Tom Watson was made an honorary member in 2018.

Stewart added: “I am working on a communication for members which will properly clarify the financial position of the club and what we need to do going forward to maintain your club’s survival.”

Other Scottish clubs have also warned about the impact of the current closure of courses.

Pitlochry Golf Club predicted "tough" times ahead, adding in some posts on Twitter: "We’ve already had members looking for money back on this year's subscription. Talk about kicking a man when he’s down. With zero chance of visitors, we have lost 60 per cent of our income this year."

Mike Robson, the club manager/secretary at Swanston Golf Club on the outskirts of Edinburgh, said he feared the current situation could "accelerate the closure of many clubs who were struggling prior to the coronavirus scare".

He added: "There will be a big loss in income to the 'must-play' clubs, however over the years they have had huge green fee income revenue so should be fine whereas the smaller less popular clubs will lose much-needed income that came from guests, visitors and Society outings. Worrying times indeed."