Team behind Pitlochry’s recent resurgence step in to rescue struggling Blair Atholl
BLAIR ATHOLL Golf Club has been brought back from the brink of closure after striking a deal with the team that has transformed the fortunes of nearby Pitlochry Golf Club.
Stephen Carruthers, Richard Drummond and Jon Erasmus have, over the past five years, breathed new life into Pitlochry, growing membership by 25% and overseeing the completion of a state-of-the-art centre of excellence.
After being approached by officials from Blair Atholl, they have agreed to step in and help the struggling outfit.
The club at Blair Atholl has been an integral part of the community since 1896 and its James Braid-designed nine-hole course attracted 450 members only two decades ago.
However, a falling and ageing membership, twinned with the effects of the global economic downturn, placed it in financial difficulty, with the membership of 110 unable to sustain a viable future.
That led to an approach from secretary Ian Rattray and captain David Morrison to the directors behind Pitlochry’s resurgence and, following a vote of approval from members at both clubs, Pitlochry Golf Ltd now runs both facilities.
The directorial team has assumed operational liability at Blair Atholl and also has investment plans for the clubhouse and catering.
Membership will entitle golfers to play and enjoy the use of both clubs and the deal will create up to four new full-time jobs at Blair Atholl.
Welcoming the deal, David Morrison, who joined the club as an eight-year-old 47 years ago, placed its importance in context.
“I think, if we had stayed the way we were for another two or three years, we would have to close the doors forever, which would have been a huge tragedy,” he said.
“This has secured the future of the club and I am very excited about it. We saw what the guys had done at Pitlochry so we approached them. They were enthusiastic and here we are. I’d love to see the clubhouse packed again like it used to be, for golfers and locals alike because the club is part of the community.”
Pitlochry Golf Ltd’s David Erasmus added: “The first aim, obviously, is to ensure Blair Atholl has a long-term future. We will work with the membership to create a commercial entity that, in time, can stand on its own two feet because this is a vital community resource.
“Pitlochry Golf Club was in a relatively similar circumstance five years ago but we have managed to employ more people, build an academy and we are now developing the golf course, which will continue.
“In terms of value, members will have access to two golf courses, two club houses and they can play all the competitions and all the medals, for the same cost.”