Open organisers set to purchase Glasgow public golf course

The R&A is planning to take over Lethamhill golf course and invest £10m in ‘The Swing Zone’.

Golf’s governing body is set to pay £200,000 for one of Glasgow’s public courses.

The R&A, which organises The Open, is planning to take over Lethamhill golf course and invest £10m in ‘The Swing Zone’.

It aims to take the game to a wider audience, with a pitch and putt course, floodlit driving range and indoor golf simulator all proposed.

Councillors will be asked to give the go-ahead to the sale when they meet on Thursday.

Lethamhill would be bought by R&A Group Services, one of the companies set up by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews for commercial activities.

The deal could also see £25,000 paid to secure an option to purchase Littlehill golf course within three years.

Glasgow City Council would have the right of first refusal on any future sales for 20 years.

A council report states the Lethamhill transformation would be a “unique test case”, which could be rolled out across the UK.

“The Swing Zone is the vehicle by which the R&A will work collaboratively to make golf more accessible, appealing and inclusive to all members of society and ensure that the sport continues to thrive.

“The focus will be on short form golf, increased family orientation and accessibility.”

There could be shorter format golf courses, an adventure/activity centre and adventure golf putting area.

Other proposals include a sports related retail unit, changing facilities, a café/restaurant, gym, nursery and children’s movie theatre.

Plans for Littlehill are “not as well-developed” but it is being considered as a green keeping academy.

Glasgow City Council is looking for alternative solutions for its six public courses due to “declining participation” and the “challenging” financial climate.

Story by local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands

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