• STV
  • MySTV

Rough times: Will golf last the course in Scotland?

Bosses fear the game is rapidly falling out of favour in the country that gave the sport its start.

By Ben Philip

Golf may be one of Scotland's most popular global exports, but there are troubling signs the game is rapidly falling out of favour in the country that gave the sport its start.

Two of Scotland's courses have announced imminent closures this week, underlining the challenges facing the game.

An ageing population, a lack of time and cost have all been blamed. And with 5000 players giving up the game each year, pressure is on to find a way to bring golfers back to the greens.

Scottish Golf chief executive Andrew McKinlay said: "We have to adapt to modern society and if you want to get kids into the game, we might need to change certain things."

The latest KPMG Golf Participation Report for Europe states that there are around 190,000 registered golfers in Scotland - down 27% since 2005.

Mr McKinlay said the game needs to appeal to younger players if it's going to add more players in the coming years.

He said: "Like so many other things in life, people are consuming things in a different way and we have to adapt to that", adding that a move toward nine-hole courses is an example of the industry adapting to lifestyle changes among players.

He said: "A lot of people these days seem to be struggling for time compared to days gone by."

Camperdown will shut next year as Dundee City Council concentrates its municipal golf offering at nearby Caird Park.

On Sunday, Mount Ellen Golf Club in Glasgow shut its doors after going bankrupt - devastating for members and the local community.

Club secretary Gerry Ward said: "It's funereal. This golf club provides a really important facility for its members. We have a lot of elderly members and if it closes, these people won't leave the house - it's tragic."

Those within the sport knows they have work to do. One initiative in Aberdeen offers youngsters a chance to access golf facilities and free memberships on council courses.

"For us it's about making golf as accessible as possible," said Calum McIntyre from Sport Aberdeen. "We don't have the luxury of other sports where kids can just go out and drop down a football and play in the local park.

"There's definitely a few barriers for golf and just from providing equipment to allowing them access out on the golf course, we aim to remove those barriers."

There are still around 560 golf courses with full tee sheets and tournaments drawing record-breaking crowds.

Mr McKinlay admitted although club membership is declining, he's not convinced the sport is in any sort of trouble.

He said: "We have to adapt to modern society and if you want to get kids into the game, we might need to change certain things.

"Golf will always thrive in Scotland, we have the most amazing product in the world, let's be positive about it."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.