TAKING over the running of the courses at Letham Grange Hotel has proved to be a hugely successful venture for Letham Grange Golf Club, says club captain Nick Jackson.
He explained: “In January, the doors (and golf courses) were closed due to a long running saga of disputed ownership. It looked like the end for Letham Grange, but the golf club committee and members thought and decided otherwise.”
Following a very well attended extraordinary general meeting, the decision was taken that the golf club would work with the official receivers and take over the operation of the golf courses and a part of the hotel.
Course manager David Dawson said: “We didn’t have the time or money to advertise, so we had to rely on word of mouth and the interest of the local media and just get on with it.”
A budget and operating plan was created based on a potential membership of 250, a skeleton green-staff, volunteers, a small management team, and a degree of good fortune.
The club only got on to the course a few days before the start of the season. It was a frantic rush to get the courses open, but the fine weather in April got the season off to a good start and the membership started to return and new members joined.
What happened next was that despite a dreadful amount of rainfall over the summer the club has been able to operate both courses throughout the season and membership has exceeded 500.
“It has been amazing,” added Mr Jackson. “We had hoped that we might be able to stretch the membership to beyond the 300 mark, but over 500 is far beyond our expectations. We don’t have to tell people how excellent the courses at Letham Grange are, but we did have to tell people that they were open for play, and that new members and visitors were very welcome.”
The club was also able to welcome far more visiting golfers to Letham Grange than had been anticipated and also ran open competitions which attracted golfers from all over Scotland. The club also enjoyed a very successful 25th anniversary celebration in July.
With the main golf season over the club has now introduced the winter golf course. This comprises 17 holes on the Glens Course and one on the Old. Full greens will be in operation whenever possible and members will be able to participate in competitions throughout the winter.
The club continues to look for new members and has held its annual subscription at £350 (for both courses) or £280 (Glens only) for 2012. A small premium is added for those who wish to pay the subscription in instalments.
New members joining now will be able to play the winter course without any additional cost. Anybody who joins now for 2012 will be able to play immediately and enjoy membership through until March, 2013.
Mr Jackson continued: “It has been amazing. Only the weather got in our way, otherwise we had an enormous amount of support and backing.
“The management team, volunteers, sponsors, membership and visitors have been great, and the green-staff have worked wonders. Some of the Letham Grange residents contributed financially, and we sought every opportunity we could think of to raise funds.
“Our budget and operating plans worked. We are financially stable and able to meet all of our commitments, including some significant improvements to the drainage on both courses. We are now looking to do the same again in 2012, bring in more members and have another great golfing year.”
He concluded: “We don’t know what the future will bring, it is in the hands of the courts, but who ever eventually takes over at Letham Grange will find two great golf courses and a large enthusiastic membership if it is left to us.”
Anyone seeking more information should contact www.lethamgrangegolfclub.co.uk or Gardiner Arthur, secretary of Letham Grange Golf Club at firstname.lastname@example.org