Helmsdale Golf Club, a tiny nine-hole East Sutherland golf club, has just completed a £12,000 renovation project to relay its 100-year-old greens.
With just 60 members, Helmsdale depends on volunteer help and was only able to undertake the work with outside support.
Funding for the project was sourced from two local grant-awarding bodies and three neighbouring golf clubs – Brora, the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle and Royal Dornoch – provided machinery and labour free-of-charge.
Helmsdale club secretary Ron Sutherland said members had been greatly touched by the support shown.
“This project would have been a massive undertaking for any golf club, let alone one as small as Helmsdale, and it would never have got off the ground without the support of our neighbouring clubs,” he said.
The club’s management committee realised over two years ago the state of their 1860-yard course was becoming so dire it was threatening the club’s future.
“Our greens were 100 years old, beyond repair and in desperate need of rejuvenation. The greens were playable but they were uneven and not conducive to good golf. The poor putting surfaces were holding the club back at a time when attracting local memberships and visiting golfers was critical for the club’s survival.”
The club initially considered laying Astro Turf, but rejected the idea because of the cost.
“Astroturf would have lasted up to 30 years and is low maintenance – it only requires brushing. However each green would have cost £2000 and that was simply too much.”
Club captain Graham Grant eventually suggested returfing and funding was sourced from the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund (£6877) and the Scottish Hydro Gordonbush Windfarm Community Fund (£5000).
The club hopes to have its new greens in place by April 2013.