A well-known businessman has vowed this week to do all he can to rescue the cash-strapped club where he learned to play golf.
Iain Brown, a former owner of The Galloway Gazette, says he is committed to helping the committee of Newton Stewart Golf Club pull the club out of the financial mire and put it back on a sound financial footing to ensure its survival.
Mr Brown, who retired to Ayrshire 12 years ago, is busy organising an Am-Am competition in October that could swell the club’s coffers by as much as £10,000, with some spectacular prizes up for grabs – including a new car for a hole-in-one and rounds of golf at Scotland’s premier courses such as Loch Lomond, Turnberry and Troon.
Mr Brown said: “I enjoyed my time at Newton Stewart Golf Club – it’s where I learned to play golf – and I would hate to see it close but it has major financial problems.
“I have agreed to come onto the committee on a temporary basis to help out.
“Loss of membership is the biggest problem. Fewer people can afford to play golf or have lost interest. Two or three years ago the club had 150 to 160 male members, now that’s down to 60.
“Some former members have gone to other clubs, possibly because the membership fee is cheaper elsewhere. But the club has to look at why that is and do something about getting them back and keeping them. Bringing on youngsters is another way of ensuring the survival of the club. Programmes have to be developed to encourage kids to learn the game and make it enjoyable at the same time.
“Newton Stewart Golf Club is also an important part of the infrastructure of the town as regards tourism.”
The Am-Am on October 5 will see 40 teams – men, women and mixed – from all over south-west Scotland, Ayrshire and Ireland taking part. There will also be a golfing clinic on the day for youngsters.