Golfers at an internationally renowned course are evoking the philanthropic spirit of their former neighbour and vice president, Andrew Carnegie, by using their own funds to help good causes locally.
The Royal Dornoch Golf Club has set up a community fund which will give donations to groups to help their work.
The fund is being set up using a percentage of the net green fee income from visitors who come from all parts of the world to play the famous links course.
Organisations based within the IV25 postcode can apply for donations of up to £500 with payments determined by a committee which includes past club captains.
Neil Hampton, Royal Dornoch Golf Club’s general manager, said: “The club values highly its position in the local community and takes seriously the role it plays in supporting local causes. Many private members’ clubs exist solely for the benefit of their members but, from its beginnings, one of the main aims of Royal Dornoch Golf Club has been to support the local economy.
“We already make a vital contribution by attracting visitors and new residents to the area but, at a time when its finances are strong, the club has decided to add to these longstanding indirect benefits by making a direct contribution to the community.”
Each year the club – part of the Highland Golf Links partnership which promotes destination breaks in the Highlands – will contribute up to one per cent of its green fees income to the fund, which will be controlled by RDGC’s Council of Management.
Applications will be considered by a four-strong panel, including the club Captain and the two immediate predecessors, as well as a nominee from Dornoch Area Community Council.
The overriding criterion is that awards must be used for the purpose of contributing to the common good of the local community.
Provost Yvonne Ross, the community council chair, said: “This is an extremely generous and community-spirited initiative from Royal Dornoch Golf Club. The club already plays an enormous part in promoting Dornoch and helping its economy and this new social fund will further contribute to community life by helping a number of local groups.”
In 2016 Dornoch will mark 400 years of golf being played on the town’s links. The golf club was formed in 1877 and was granted a Royal charter in 1906. Part of the land on which the famous Championship Course and adjoining Struie Course stand, regarded as amongst the finest stretches of natural golf links in the world, is leased from the Common Good Fund of the former Royal Burgh.
The club now has 1,800 members, 700 of whom are from outside Scotland and scattered across the globe.
The steel magnate Andrew Carnegie devoted much of his later life to large-scale philanthropy having built up a multi-million pound fortune.
He took up golf shortly after building the castle of his dreams at Skibo, four miles from the Royal Dornoch Golf Club. In 1901, as vice president of the club, he presented to the members the Carnegie Shield, now regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful trophies. It was competed for this year for the 101st time.
Highland Golf Links also includes Castle Stuart Golf Links and The Nairn Golf Club, as well as the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House Hotel, Inverness; the Royal Golf Hotel and Links House, at Royal Dornoch; and the Golf View Hotel in Nairn.
The group promotes Play and Stay golf packages in the Highlands.
Highland Golf Links www.highlandgolflinks.com