Martin Dempster: Portobello plan surely better than no course at all

Portobello is to become a six-hole course. Picture: Kate Chandler
Portobello is to become a six-hole course. Picture: Kate Chandler
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Of the six Edinburgh 
Leisure-run courses in the Capital, the only one I’ve not played over the years is 
Portobello and that chance – in its current form anyway – is about to be taken away.

In what has been described as a bid to make it “more family friendly”, plans have been unveiled to change the course from nine to just six holes and, at the same time, introduce the likes of frisbee golf and foot golf.

The proposal will have the late great Ronnie Shade, who played at Portobello as well as Duddingston, turning in his grave and it really is unfortunate that things have reached this stage due to a dwindling membership. At the same time, if Edinburgh Leisure do indeed see some potential in trying to freshen things up at such a facility and create a “perfect pathway for junior golf, which is limited within the city”, then that is surely better than it closing completely.

Like it or not, some things in golf need to change for the game to start flourishing again. For many, nothing will ever match getting out for a hit over nine or 18 holes and I’m certainly in that camp. However, there could be others who just might be tempted to get into golf with family members through something like a six-hole course being an option. It will certainly be interesting to see how the Portobello plan pans out.