Support from near and far played part in South Lanarkshire Council making call on club’s future

Mags Cathcart was looking to celebrate with someone. “I’m just waiting for someone from the committee on our Whatsapp group asking who is going for a pint - and nobody is doing it,” she said, laughing.

Her reason for wanting to have a wee party was a good one. Earlier in the day, her beloved Hollandbush Golf Club had been handed a reprieve by South Lanarkshire Council after it had been feared it could be doomed to closure.

“The outcome on Wednesday was that Council leader Joe Fagan put a motion over that an extra £800,000 goes into the Community Fightback Fund, which already had £200,000 in it,” reported Cathcart, the club manager. “This is the pot they will use to keep Hollandbush running this year as it is. It will be maintained by the Council and run by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture and we will start working with the Council to find a new model for running the club and course.

“Whether that be asset transfer or asset transfer light or some kind of semi-private set up where we would run the course, the starter’s office and whatnot and we maybe even sub-contract the greenkeepers from them with a view to whatever suited both parties.”

The welcome news came in the wake of a post on social media urging golfers to “bombard” their local councillors in a bid to highlight the popularity of the course while Scottish Golf also contacted South Lanarkshire Council urging it to “understand the context” of any decision.

“It’s an absolutely amazing feeling,” added Cathcart. “This is my 21st year at Hollandbush and it’s probably the most stressful two weeks I’ve had. We had a meeting with Joe Fagan last Wednesday and we told him that yesterday was the deadline for a positive announcement so that we could move forward and recruit new members again. We were taking in new members in January but then when the announcement came it dried up and stopped.”

Referring to the support the club had received, she said: “It’s all been great. Our members have been right behind us, as have the communities of Blackwood & Kirkmuirhill, Lesmahagow and Coalburn and our three local councillors as well. The Golf Club Managers Association, which is based in England, reached out. Obviously Scottish Golf as well. The Scottish Golf Club Managers Association, of which I’m a member of, got its weight behind it, too, as did the Lanarkshire Golf Association.”

In a post on social media, Councillor Ross Lambie said there had been a “loud, strong and public commitment” from the Council to support Hollandbush and praised Cathcart and her fellow committee members for the “hard work” they had put in. “We are all just delighted,” she declared. “Yes, there is still a lot of work ahead, but we are all saying that this could possibly be the best thing that has happened to the club.”

The news has been welcomed by Gregor Monks, who was the club professional at Hollandbush when Cathcart started and, though now based at Dullatur, helped his old club by providing “fantastic knowledge” in the meeting with Fagan.

“I grew up playing golf at Hollandbush as a kid until my early 20s,” said Monks. “When I think about it, I probably spent more time with the members at Hollandbush than I did with my own family back then and as a junior was welcomed into the sweeps and encouraged to play. As a junior, I never felt in the way or I wasn’t supposed to be there… not something I think many juniors elsewhere could say now!

“Mags, the current committee and members are very proud of their club and the support they’ve received in the last few weeks from the local community and councillors has been amazing. Now that they’ve secured Hollandbush staying open this year, I’m sure they’ll push on and make a success of operating the club themselves over the coming years.”

2024-02-22T08:13:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd