Two of Scotland’s oldest golf clubs have merged in order to secure their future in the face of declining memberships.
The Royal Montrose Mercantile Golf Club opened earlier this month following the merger between Royal Montrose Golf Club and Montrose Mercantile Golf.
There are now two golf clubs in the town, both playing on Montrose Golf Links, which brands itself as the fifth oldest golf course in the world. The other is the Montrose Caledonia Golf Club.
According to Rob Lewis, former captain of the Mercantile, the merger should produce a ‘strengthened and reinvigorated club, save money spent on duplicate facilities and services, and help make Montrose a more attractive golf venue for visitors’.
The merging of the two clubs, which received 75% approval at a vote held in August, has resulted in the closure of the Mercantile clubhouse, whose sale will help to fund the renovation of the clubhouse at Royal Montrose.
Lewis added: “There is some sadness in me, but there are so many things we can do now. By selling the Mercantile building we can build a cash reserve to upgrade the former Royal Montrose clubhouse.”
Lewis said that club membership had fallen away from around a thousand a decade ago, to around 600 in 2017, to just over 400 immediately before the merger.
Gordon Shepherd, former captain of Royal Montrose Golf Club, said his old club had also had around 400 members, meaning they were hoping for around 800 golfers to join the new merged club.
He said: “This is another progressive step in the development of golf in Montrose. Instead of struggling to keep two clubhouses functioning, we can now concentrate on developing and providing a first class club for the benefit of golfers in Montrose and for visitors to the town.”