World’s fifth oldest course urges golfers to keep on supporting it during coronavirus closure

Montrose Golf Links ‘hit hard’ by lockdown

The 1562 course at Montrose.

Golfers are being urged to keep supporting one of the oldest courses in the world by purchasing a new season ticket and making advanced bookings despite its current closure due to the coronavirus crisis.

Renewals for the Montrose Golf Links season ticket have been due since the beginning of the month and the uptake from around 800 holders from last year has been on the slow side so far, with only 50 per cent having purchased the 2020-21 ticket.

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The 1562 course at the Angus venue is the fifth oldest in the world and has staged final qualifying for the Open in the past, as well as the British Boys’ Championship along with other top amateur events.

“Our income is split between season-ticket holders and visitors,” head professional Jason Boyd told The Scotsman. “Obviously visitor income has been affected for obvious reasons, although, in fairness, I’d say 99 per cent of advance bookings are deferring until later in the year or 2021.

“We are also looking to launch an international membership category. No other club can claim to be the world’s fifth oldest and this gives us a unique appeal for international golfers.

“Season-tickets were due on 1 April, so lockdown has hit us particularly hard in that respect. We are relying on the loyalty of our season-ticket holders to renew. Our season-ticket holders are very important to our business.

“I get it that they can’t play due to the course being closed, but every course is in the same predicament. Our team continues to work hard to improve our golf courses and we will be ready and excited to welcome everyone back when we return to normal in the future.”

The golfers at Montrose play over the 1562 course and the Broomfield course, both of which were designed by the legendary Harry Colt and both looked after by Montrose Golf Links.

The 1562 layout has played host to the PGA EuroPro Tour in recent years and was due to welcome back the third-tier circuit this summer before its entire schedule was scrapped to the current world health crisis. Recently, Montrose Golf Links was voted the 32nd best course in Scotland.

“From the smallest club to the largest club, we are all in the same position,” added Boyd. “Golf has been played here since 1562 – this is a great attraction to golfers from all over the world and our golf courses are full of character. Scottish links at its best.

“We’ve got Carnoustie, Monifieth and Panmure and a host of other courses close by, which is fantastic for our visitors. The Angus area is blessed with fantastic courses. Long may we be able to say ‘continue the journey, enjoy our history and make more memories’.”

On the back of a number of people expressing a desire to donate to Montrose Golf Links during these unprecedented times, a Go Fund Me page has been set up with a target £10,000.

On Saturday, The Scotsman reported that Brora Golf Club had raised around £70,000 in the space of a week through support from around the world after president Andy Stewart warned it “might not exist” beyond the coronavirus closure.

Elsewhere in the Highlands, a decision to offer an overseas membership at Fortrose & Rosemarkie starting from June at the cost of just £175 has already attracted interest.

“I got two emails last night from groups looking to join from overseas, which is a start,” said club secretary Mike MacDonald. Bookings are also now being taken for 2021 and he added: “We are trying to work ahead at a time when many clubs are standing still.”