World’s oldest golf club could permanently close down

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 29, 2014 03:19 Updated

A facility that stakes a claim to being the world’s oldest golf club has become ‘unplayable’ due to its financial issues.

It is probably the clearest indicator of the problems that are facing golf clubs in the UK today.

North Inch Golf Course in Perth is described as the world’s first recognisable golf course in Beasley’s World Atlas of Golf, while a royal enactment of 1450 forbids the playing of golf at the venue as it was interfering with archery practice.


North Inch Golf Course. Image by Ninian Reid

However, in recent years the venue has, according to The Scotsman, ‘fallen into disrepair’ through a lack of investment and flooding from the adjacent River Tay. The situation has got so bad that the course could be ‘closed forever’ according to the paper.

Earlier this year Perth and Kinross Council said it would invest £50,000 into the venue over the next two years to secure its future. The money will cover dredging of the burn on the course, replacement of artificial tees and improvements to the entrance and path to the golf starter’s hut.

It was also agreed that a marketing plan to encourage more use of the course and a revised pricing schedule for golfers will be introduced.

But it has now emerged that the amount the council pays a local sports contractor to manage the site has been reduced by £23,800.

Local golfer Donald Macleod said: “The course is now worse than ever,”, while Eddie Thornton added: “I’ve been playing this course for 40 years and I’ve never seen it in such a mess.

“There’s so many of the greens damaged it’s unbelievable.

“The rough is absolutely horrendous. It’s taking guys umpteen shots to play out of it because it’s so thick. It’s been turned into a dog toilet.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 29, 2014 03:19 Updated