Brora Golf Club has offered its thanks to golfers near and far after an incredible show of support safeguarded the future of the renowned Highland links.
Having been the first Scottish golf club to express fears that it ‘might not exist’ beyond the COVID-19 closure of courses in the UK, a dedicated campaign across various platforms has attracted a huge response from around the world.
The new-found love for the James Braid-designed course has seen the club raise a six-figure sum through new membership categories, advance tee time bookings, merchandise sales via PGA pro Malcolm Murray’s well-stocked online shop and website donations. With the majority of staff furloughed in line with government guidance, a core four-person team has spread the word to highlight Brora’s beauty through social media posts, press releases, website updates and email bulletins.
Five-time Open champion Tom Watson, an honorary member, also tweeted his support, with social media influencers No Laying Up donating money through an exclusive towel sale. Given Brora only boasts a small number of local members in a remote part of Scotland, imaginative new membership categories such as Lifetime Membership, The Tern Club and Platinum Membership have drawn new members from across the globe. Tee sponsorship has also proved popular.
Indeed, seven individuals have paid £10,000 each for the unique Platinum Membership option to help the club sit in a far healthier financial position going forward.
President Andy Stewart said: “We were looking forward to a bumper year of visitor numbers, projected at £350,000, before the COVID-19 pandemic halted us in our tracks in March. With a dependence on visitor income, we have had to be creative in our thinking to drive new revenue and we have simply been overwhelmed with the love for us from across the world.
“Tony Gill, our general manager, has been dealing with a flood of emails about memberships and various offers of support, while Malcolm has done a great job on social media to spread the word to our growing audiences and enjoy large shop sales. I think we always knew we had members and visitors who love our links. But, when that support all comes together at once, I think it has just been incredible for all of us to realise just how well regarded the golf club is. It really has been fantastic.”
Brora – which was founded in 1891 and was a favourite of another five-time Open winner Peter Thomson – has being growing steadily in recent years, investing in staff and the golf course itself. The money raised should now see them through this year without having to borrow any funds, while they are hopeful of running their 5 Day Open later this year if domestic travel is permitted.
Stewart, who has seen the club add over 80 new members and generate 500 online Pro Shop sales, added: “It’s almost like the world now understands what we have here at Brora and people realised we have a club worth saving. We offer our thanks to all who have supported us and look forward to seeing members and visitors enjoying Brora again in the weeks and months ahead.”