Thursday, November 27, 2014


LEFT TO RIGHT: Blair Atholl Club captain David Morrison, Pitlochry
Golf Ltd Director Richard Drummond, Head Greenkeeper Stuart Griffiths and
Pitlochry Golf Director Jon Erasmus 
Pitlochry Golf Ltd has concluded an operating 
arrangement with Blair Atholl Golf Club which will 
secure the future of the latter, a closure-threatened
community outfit.
The three-man team of Stephen Carruthers, Richard
Drummond and Jon Erasmushave transformed the fortunes
at Pitlochry Golf Club in the past five years,
growing membership by 25 per cent and overseeing a
state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence.
Now, after being approached by officials from 
neighbours Blair Atholl Golf Club, 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, falling and ageing membership, plus 
recession placed it in financial difficulty and the
membership of 110 could no longer sustain a viable
That led to an approach, three months ago, from 
Secretary Ian Rattray and Captain David Morrison to 
the directors behind Pitlochry Golf Club’s
And, following a vote of approval from members at 
both clubs, Pitlochry Golf Ltd will now operate both
Pitlochry and Blair Atholl clubs from January.
The directorial team will assume operational  
liability at Blair Atholl and also have investment
plans for the clubhouse and catering.
Membership will entitle golfers to play and enjoy 
facilities at both clubs and the deal will create up
to four new full-time jobs at Blair Atholl.
Welcoming the deal, Club Captain David Morrison, who
joined the club as an 8 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.”
The deal, blessed by an 83-1 EGM vote, will see the existing Blair Atholl Golf Club committee continuing to run competitions and events.
Pitlochry Golf Ltd, however, will operate the clubhouse and course.
Pitlochry Golf Ltd directors believe their business model could return the club to viability in three years.
“The first aim, obviously, is to ensure Blair Atholl
 has a long-term future,” said Director Jon Erasmus.
“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 clubhouses and they can play all the competitions and all the medals, for the
same cost. There are few other clubs in Scotland where this is the case.”
Fellow Director Richard Drummond outlined some initial investments plans for Blair Atholl, with officials impressed by the work of Head Greenkeeper, Stuart Griffiths.
“The course is in very good condition and we’d like this to be known,firstly, as the best 9-hole course in Perthshire.
“What we are aiming for is moving to a more consistent food and beverage product and developing the clubhouse. What is clear to us is that the locals want something back for the community because this is an important
asset to them.”



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