Wednesday, June 01, 2011


 CRAIBSTONE golf course, future bright under new management and ownership.

Craibstone Golf Club at Bucksburn, Aberdeen is to start a “Craibstone Alliance” open competition every Wednesday from June 8 until the North-east Alliance circuit restarts in September.
The 18-hole competitions will be open to male and female amateurs, professionals and assistant professionals. Entries from outwith the
area will be accepted.
The handicap limits for the amateurs will be 20 for men, and 30 for women.
Craibstone golf operations manager Billy Sim: “It’s an experiment really to test the water. By early September we should know if we are satisfying a need for a regular midweek open competition at a venue near Aberdeen through the summer months.
“If we are, then we will put the Craibstone Alliance on a more formal basis with a view to restarting it next year in April. Things we will find out from competitors would include whether Tuesday or Thursday would be a more suitable day and whether a competition every second midweek would be sufficient."
There will be no membership subscription for the Craibstone Alliance this year. The entry fee every Wednesday will be £15 or £10 for Craibstone Golf Club members. The normal visitor's green fee is £35 per round.
The level of weekly prizes will depend on the number of entries but they will be in line with the North-east Alliance prizelists except that professionals and lady amateurs will have their own categories.
Just like the North-east Alliance, tee times may be reserved in advance by competitors, either by telephone (01224 716777) or by calling in past Golf Operations Manager Billy Sim’s office at Craibstone Golf Club. When competing on a Wednesday competitors can put their names down for the times they want to play the following Wednesday.
There will be no prizegiving ceremonies. Prizewinners will collect their vouchers or cash in the case of professionals at the following Wednesday's competition.
Tee times for the Craibstone Alliance will normally be from 8am to 2pm.
The Brimmond Bistro, within the Craibstone clubhouse, is open to non members of the club and offers a selection of light meals, sandwiches, coffees, teas and cakes seven days a week from 9.30am to 6.30pm.
New owners Marshall Leisure have not only hired Billy Sim but also his brother John to be assistant head greenkeeper and a new young chef to be in charge of the catering.
Earlier this year the future looked black for the Craibstone club. Now the situation has been transformed by new management and new owners prepared to invest substantially in future improvements, including a driving range, a practice putting green adjacent to the clubhouse, a possible upper storey for the clubhouse and, more long-term, raising the quality of the first six holes, currently parkland, to the standard of the last 12 holes which are set in mature trees and more undulating land.
Confidence in Craibstone's rebirth is demonstrated by the number of oil companies who, within the past week or so, have made bookings for their staff and guests' outings this summer.
No one is claiming that Craibstone has suddenly become the best course in the North-east. But it is easily accessible for anyone who lives in the western half of Aberdeen and 12 miles round and, unlike many other clubs, it is as much a pay-and-play visitors' venue as it is a members' club.
How much longer this situation will last is a moot point. Craibstone, from a starting point early in the year of 0 members when the previous owners' business went into liquidation and the course was closed for several weeks, now has a healthy membership of more than 400 - and that figure is rising steadly. No joining subscription is required this year.
The introduction of Craibstone Alliance open competitions is a sign of the new management's readiness to try ideas that long-established clubs have never got round to. There are more in the pipeline ... a possible week-long festival with various competitions for all members of the family (as Deeside Golf Club had in the 1970s), parent-and-offspring greensomes, maybe a Tartan Tour pro-am.
Craibstone is alive again. Watch this space!



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