THE future of the Reay golf course has been secured after four years of uncertainty.
It was confirmed after the club purchased the course from the owners of Sandside Estate, which was put on the market in 2013.
Reay Farms Ltd bought the estate and offered to sell the course to the club as it wanted it to remain as a community asset.
At the time, the club owned the clubhouse and the car park but not the course which it had rented from the previous estate owner.
Club captain Grant Coghill told the John O’Groat Journal around £100,000 was raised, with funding coming from a variety of sources. The club also raised funds to help towards the purchase.
Mr Coghill said £50,000 was awarded by Sportscotland with £30,000 coming from Caithness and North Sutherland Fund. A further £10,000 came from each of Highland Council’s Caithness landward discretionary fund and SSE Strathy North Joint Fund.
“Sportscotland was the major funder and pivotal to the awards from the other bodies. The golf club had been raising funds towards this project since 2013 by not employing extra staff in the summer – the work being done instead by club volunteers,” said Mr Coghill. He described the sum raised by the club as “significant.”
“This is the first time in our history we have owned the golf course. We can now plan for the future as the uncertainty of the past four years has now been removed,” said Mr Coghill, who praised Reay Farms Ltd for its help and support.
He revealed that the club, which has around 180 members, now wants to build a coaching are and machinery shed at the course. That is expected to cost around £30,000.
Treasurer Jock Eunson is also delighted the club now owns the course. “It gives us security and removes the uncertainty over the future of the club,” he said.
Reay golf course has benefited from the success of the North Coast 500 route and is hoping to capitalise on that. Visitor numbers were up by 25 per cent this year, said Mr Coghill.
In the 1960s Sandside Estates sold land to the golf club to allow it to put up a clubhouse and improve the carp park.
In 2013, Sandside Estate was purchased by a Reay Farms Limited. The golf course was founded in 1893.