‘Symbolic’ bridge to link Swanston and Lothianburn

TWO sets of holes that have been integrated into one will be formally marked tomorrow at Swanston New, where a fine balancing act is being performed to keep an influx of new members happy.

Picture: Ian Rutherford

The hybrid course being used for the Capital club’s season-opening 36-a-side ‘Captains v Vice-Captains’ match consists of some holes from Swanston and some from Lothianburn, which was forced to close its doors due to financial troubles last year along with nearby Torphin Hill.

“It will involve walking across a newly-formed bridge, which we built in January to create a new route from Swanston’s 17th green to Lothianburn’s fourth tee,” said Swanston New club manager Colin McClung.

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“Building a bridge felt very symbolic in creating a link between the two courses and we will be holding a small ceremony on the bridge to formally integrate both sets of holes into one.”

While not exclusively, Swanston New, which was in a perilous position itself a few years ago before undergoing a timely transformation, secured new members from both Lothianburn and Torphin Hill. “We gained approximately 80 who’ve swollen our numbers to a healthy 900 in total,” added McClung. “Keeping a loop of nine holes at Lothianburn open for now has been very helpful just to cope with the demand for tee-times.

“But, as the grass starts to grow again, it is going to put pressure on our greenkeeping budget. We can’t expect the current team of five greenkeepers to look after 36 holes plus three USGA-standard practice greens and a driving range on the same budget as last year.

“Having more members than we can potentially cope with at the moment is a problem many clubs would love to have, I’m sure. But we need to be careful to manage the demand paying particular attention to member feedback and ‘customer satisfaction’.”