Arbroath golfer’s website business tees off

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SOME of Scotland’s top golf clubs have signed up to a new website that aims to increase their revenue whilst providing golfers with massive green fee discounts.

LateTtimes.co.uk is the brainchild of PGA professional golfer Alan Lockhart (30), ranked 11th on Scotland’s PGA Tartan Tour, and who hails from Arbroath, and his fiancée Emma McElhill (34). They have been helped by Business Gateway Stirling.

The site, which launched on April 1, offers golfers an opportunity to book a round of golf for a minimum of 50 per cent discount at over 50 Scottish clubs including Open qualifying courses at: Scotscraig, Downfield, and Monifieth Links.

Alan, who is a professional at Ladybank Golf Club, Fife, said: “Four years ago the website wouldn’t have worked but since the recession has hit, and because golf is classed as a luxury sport, many clubs are suffering. Membership and visitor numbers have dropped which means revenue has taken a hit.

“LateTtimes is a win-win for all involved – clubs offer tee off times that are traditionally quiet and unused, bringing in income at times unpopular with their members, while golfers can book a round of golf up to seven days in advance for a fraction of the price.”

The couple, who stay in Bridge of Allan, first came up with the business idea in 2009. Since then they have worked with Business Gateway to produce the only last minute booking website that is dedicated to Scottish golf clubs.

Alan explained: “There are a handful of other English sites providing discounted green fee rates but we believe our site is the only one that guarantees a minimum of 50 per cent off. The others only offer a few Scottish clubs.

“LateTtimes is dedicated to Scotland, offering over 50 Scottish courses, with new clubs signing up every week. By the end of the summer we project there will be at least 100 Scottish golf clubs working with us.

“It was Emma’s parents, who used Business Gateway in Glasgow when they opened their elderly care home, who told us about the organisation. It’s taken a lot more work than I first thought getting the website up and running but my adviser has kept me on the right track, constantly putting my mind at rest – he really has been brilliant.

“The free workshops have also taught Emma and I a lot about running a business and opened our eyes to what is really involved.”

Frank Dunne, Business Gateway adviser, said: “Scotland is the home of golf and LateTtimes has the potential to not only provide homegrown golfers with excellent value and choice but also to give the thousands of golf tourists who visit the country each year the chance to book rounds of golf at a discount.

“Alan and Emma have worked closely with us to develop their idea and as first time entrepreneurs have really benefited from workshops and one-to-one advice. We will continue to work with the business as it grows to ensure it reaches its full potential.”

Alan, who lived in Seaton Road and later East Abbey Street, took up golf at the relatively late age of 14 after Lindsay Ewart, professional at Arbroath Golf Course, gave free lessons at his high school, believes his own professional status has helped secure clubs for the site.

“Being a Scottish PGA professional golfer has been a huge help in signing up golf clubs,” he said. “The knowledge I have about the industry has opened doors and helped secure a wide range of courses, including those that many golfers would never have dreamed of playing before due to the high green fee costs.”