Great news as maintenance work restarting on six overgrown South Lanarkshire Council golf courses

Hollandbush Golf Club manager Mags Cathcart is inspiring the campaign to save South Lanarkshire Council's stricken six municipal coursesHollandbush Golf Club manager Mags Cathcart is inspiring the campaign to save South Lanarkshire Council's stricken six municipal courses
Hollandbush Golf Club manager Mags Cathcart is inspiring the campaign to save South Lanarkshire Council's stricken six municipal courses
In good news for around 1000 members, work is restarting on getting South Lanarkshire Council’s overgrown six golf courses fit for play.

As reported last week, the municipal layouts at Hollandbush, Biggar, Strathclyde Park, Langlands, Larkhall and Torrance House faced closure within a fortnight having not been worked on since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in mid-March.

But – following publicity in this newspaper – whistleblower Mags Cathcart, manager at Hollandbush GC in Lesmahagow, was delighted to tell us that greenkeeping staff were back working from today (Monday) with the target of getting the course playable again by Monday, June 1.

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Mags also revealed that an online ‘Save our Public Golf Courses in Lanarkshire’ petition – set up by Torrance House GC member Scott Colquhoun – had gained almost 2000 signatures within just five days of being set up.

“Having greenkeeping staff working on the six courses again is down to your article and Scott’s petition,” Mags Cathcart told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

“But for these things I don’t think any work on the course would have happened until the Government lifted any working restrictions.

“It is now a mammoth task to fix the course. Our staff reckon it will be at least a couple of weeks (to mow, smooth over and upgrade the overgrown course) before the public can play at Hollandbush.

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“We are very fortunate to have Stuart Muir as a greenkeeper and he’s very valued by the club.

“Quite possibly it will be June 1 before we can start.

“I would imagine it will be the same at all six council courses.”

Mags said the four on course workers at Hollandbush – additionally equipped with new signage and disinfectant – will be putting in long hours this week in a bid to get the course playable.

Although an easing in the coronavirus lockdown allowed people in England to play golf on courses again from last Wednesday, folk north of the border are still barred from doing likewise on Scottish courses although hopes are high that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon may announce a return soon.

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If Hollandbush does come back a week on Monday, Mags thinks there will be great demand to play although she has concerns about the pricing structure facing players.

“It is a public course so the potential is here for South Lanarkshire Leisure to invest in golf and really make a lot of money out of it,” she said.

“People are looking for something to do and not everybody is a member of a private club.

“So Joe Bloggs who doesn’t normally play golf but has done at some point will be looking for some way of getting a bit of fresh air and a bit of exercise.

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“It will possibly not open the floodgates for people to be members of clubs because we can’t run competitions at the moment.

“But for casual golf this could be a fantastic opportunity for South Lanarkshire Leisure if they price it properly.

“At the very least, I would say for the month of June there’s got to be a 50 per cent discount of the price just solely because of the condition.”

South Lanarkshire Council announced on Monday morning that a number of its services were to be re-introduced on a phased basis including Golf Course Maintenance; Bowling Green Maintenance; Road Verge Maintenance; Mechanical Sweeping; Weed Control; Play Area Inspections; Grass Cutting – Cemeteries; Grass Cutting – Use of Tractors and Ride ons (maintenance of medium to large open space areas in parks, including Country Parks and amenity open space, particularly where areas are used for social recreation and/or exercise); Hedge Cutting; Maintenance of all associated equipment/plant.

But golf courses, bowling greens and play areas will stay closed to the public for now as per Scottish Government guidelines.

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