EXCLUSIVE New owner insists ‘lost’ Lothians club has got a bright future after re-opening
THE new owner of Castle Park in East Lothian believes there is a bright future for the Gifford golf club after it dramatically re-opened just weeks after apparently closing for good.
In the last issue of Scottish Club Golfer, we reported how members had reacted furiously to the ‘underhand’ manner in which the popular club was closed by its previous owners, the Wilson family.
It was expected to be turned over to agriculture until Craig McLachlan, a local business owner, stepped in with a last-minute offer to buy the facility. That offer was accepted and the club subsequently re-opened in March.
“When we heard that the club was closing, we were absolutely devastated,” said McLachlan. “It has been a big part of our family and a major part of the local community. The thought of being lost completely and turned into farmland was tragic. It would have been a huge blow, not just to Gifford, but to East Lothian, too.”
McLachlan believes that there were other offers on the table to buy the club but nobody came with the ‘hard cash’ until he stepped in.
Over the next few months, a considerable investment will be made in improving the club’s facilities, with a new clubhouse expected to open in September. Improvements to the course layout and driving range and practice area will also be carried out.
“We’re going to create as extensive a menu of golfing opportunities as we can to encourage people of all ages and abilities to come and play here,” added McLachlan. “We’ve already had great support from the local community, signing up 150 members since we re-opened and taking many bookings from societies and other golf groups.
“This is a club that has an awful lot going for it, no doubt about it.”