Brora Golf Club has welcomed 135 new members from across the world as it reflects on coming through the most challenging year in its history.
The remote Highland links was the first Scottish golf club to express fears that it ‘might not exist’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically hitting their expected visitor income this year. A dedicated campaign across various platforms attracted huge acts of kindness from around the world and ensured a story of survival for a club founded in 1891 that is the lifeblood of the local community.
Over 130 new members have pledged their support to the club in 2020, from as far afield as Australia, Japan, the United States of America, Sweden and Switzerland. Among them is owner of The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Gavyn Davies, who has been a long-time admirer of the James Braid-designed venue.
Davies was among a small number of individuals to generously take out Platinum Membership, among Brora’s innovative membership options this year, to help the club sit in a far healthier financial position going forward.
“Brora is hugely special and different, I think, from many other Scottish links,” said Davies. “It’s got a sort of atmosphere and a magic to it. I think it’s a very fine golf course, as well. It’s got everything that one of the original Scottish links should have and I was really alarmed when the virus hit.”
Davies, who has had his own challenges at the stunning Machrie on the island of Islay due to the pandemic, added: “Brora’s survival is one of the positives of 2020 and I’m relieved for all of the members, who must have been severely concerned. I know there are lots of courses around Brora, but I’m sure the Brora membership would have been devastated, actually. It’s a big thing to go out of your life if you lose your golf club.”
Brora sits on a superb parcel of land, with the Highland mountains overlooking the wonderful 18-hole links, bordered by the sandy beach. Cookie Jar Golf recently visited, producing an enchanting video story of the club’s dramatic year. “When you visit Brora, you are hit with a certain aura which very few clubs are able to achieve – something intangible, mysterious, but nonetheless immediately noticeable when you visit,” said Cookie Jar, in their powerful narrative. “This is a very special place.”
Brora, who now look forward to celebrating their 130th anniversary next year, has being growing steadily in recent years, investing in staff and the golf course itself. Revered by the likes of Tom Watson as a venue, president Andy Stewart is confident for the future and added: “It’s been a hugely challenging year for everyone across the world and Brora, as a club, has been no different. The club is so important to the local community and we are pleased to have rallied together to meet the challenges we have faced.
“Tony Gill, our general manager, and our PGA pro, Malcolm Murray, have worked particularly hard to encourage new members to join. Now thanks to the support of 135 new members and other acts of kindness from across the world, we are optimistic for our future.”