Historic golf club embarks on modernisation programme
One of the oldest golf clubs in the world, Ladybank GC in Fife, is undergoing a series of major changes to make it attractive to modern consumers.
The changes include completely new membership options and closer ties with the travel and tourism sectors.
Spokeswoman Yvonne Alexander said the club is “breaking with years of tradition in what some believe is the most significant policy shift in the club’s 138-year history.” The changes are “fundamental and ground-breaking”, she added.
Ladybank has introduced four new membership categories that reflect a key transitional phase from junior to full-member status. New categories for 18 to 25 year olds and 26 to 30 year olds have been announced with no waiting lists. Country and overseas membership categories have been unveiled for the first time, with numbers initially restricted to 25 members in each division.
The club is also establishing closer links with golf tour operators and key accommodation providers such as Rufflets Hotel; 2016 AA Scottish Hotel of the Year.
“It is a great idea,” said Stephen Owen, general manager at Rufflets.
“If our clients want to play one of the best courses in the area, we can now accommodate that. The new arrangement with Ladybank ticks a lot of boxes for us and it is easy to manage. We are relishing the opportunity to working with a prestigious club like Ladybank.”
“These are exciting and historic times for Ladybank Golf Club,” said the club’s new secretary, Gordon Simpson, who took up his post last year.
“The course has been long regarded as one of the best heathland layouts in Scotland. We now have the opportunity to create a vibrant club around that reputation by creating a club fit for the 21st century. That requires change so a decision has been made to seize the moment and make fundamental improvements that will shape the club for the foreseeable future.”
He continued: “The idea is to become a modern, open golf club. To do that requires fresh thinking and a more customer-focussed approach. In many ways, this has been one of the biggest changes to ever happen at the club.”
“Ladybank has a remarkable history,” said Gordon. “It is an Old Tom layout and a seven-times host for final qualifying at the Open Championship in St Andrews. There is no doubt Ladybank has a phenomenal history, but it is also a progressive club with an exciting future. With a new-look website, revised membership categories and thriving relationships with the tourism sector, the club is looking to the future with fresh impetus and zeal. These are certainly exciting times.”
“Gordon presented a portfolio of far-reaching initiatives at the club’s January AGM which were subsequently passed,” added Alexander. “The decision ushers in a new era.”