Brora Seeks Support of International Golf Community In Coronavirus Fight
By Ed Hodge
Brora Golf Club, the renowned Highland links, is seeking the support of its international community to help safeguard its future during the Coronavirus crisis.
The much-loved venue, one of five-time Open champion James Braid’s finest pieces of work, is facing significant financial challenges given a huge loss of expected visitor income this year. In a message to around 600 members last week, club president Andy Stewart admitted the club “might not exist” beyond the current pandemic sweeping the globe.
Like clubs across the UK, Brora has been forced to close temporarily in order to comply with government guidance on how to stop the spread of the disease. All staff have been put in furlough, other than three key members – working on reduced wage – to assist with essential day-to-day operations to keep the club going. Heartfelt messages from across the globe have been posted on social media in support of the club, reflecting the fact visitors from as far afield as the US, Australia, South Africa and the Bahamas played the course in the small Sutherland village in 2019.
Through a new page on the club website various items can now be purchased to support Brora and achieve an association with the club. The focus is very much on the international market, with international membership available for £323. For the first time, limited platinum life membership and international lifetime membership are also on offer. Currently, only 83 individuals are international members of Brora.
Lifetime hole sponsorship and five-year hole sponsorship are also available, as well as the chance to join The Tern Club through the Pro Shop. For £100, golfers can receive a unique gift from the shop, gain discount on normal stock items in the shop of 15% and a lesson from Club Professional, Malcolm Murray.
Golfers can also buy a voucher to play Brora (redeemable in the future), purchase new merchandise from the online pro shop or simply give any amount to the club via a donation function.
Stewart said: “As is the case for golf clubs across the world, this is a hugely challenging time. Our club has a dependence on visitor income in its efforts to survive and grow and, as a result, this pandemic will hit us hard. We are fighting to ensure the very survival of the club. We need every member to do whatever they can do to help the club, such as paying their 2020 subscription, or even next year’s. They could also make a deposit on their bar card or pro shop account if in a position to do so.
“We have also updated our website to create other revenue opportunities, particularly targeting our international market given many of them will be unable to visit us this year. International membership at Brora is well priced at just over £300, while we now also have an option for golfers to take out international lifetime membership and support us via other offers.
“Like many clubs, we are asking for the support of our members and regular visitors at this difficult time. Hopefully we can make it through this crisis and can look forward to enjoying our cherished golf club and course in the future.”
Part of the 'Magnificent Seven' golf clubs that form The James Braid Highland Golf Trail, starting at Boat of Garten in the south to Reay in the far north, Brora is only an hour from Inverness by car. The club is also part of the Dornoch Firth Golf Pass, together with Royal Dornoch, Tain and Golspie.
Brora boasts a proud history and enjoys a notable link with five-time Open champions – from Braid, who redesigned the course in 1923, to honorary members Tom Watson and the late Peter Thomson. With a par of 70, it was described by Thomson, as “one of the finest natural links courses I have had the pleasure of playing.”
For more information on all membership categories and visitor bookings at Brora, please contact Tony Gill, secretary, on email at: [email protected].
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