By Rory Reynolds
GOLF courses could be turned into allotments because of a fall in the number of people playing the game.
Residents of Edinburgh could soon be planting a cabbage patch in the 9th hole as councillors are to consider whether to plough over several of the cities six public greens and give the land to budding gardeners.
The council and the city owned Edinburgh Leisure firm are to launch a strategy to determine how best to use the publicly owned golf courses, which cover a large proportion of the city.
It is thought that the drive by privately owned courses to attract new members by cutting membership fees has reduced the demand for public courses.
Yet more than 2,100 people in Edinburgh are on the waiting list for just 1,230 gardening plots, which have seen a surge in popularity during the recession.Dave Anderson, development director for the city, said: “Set in the context of significantly increased demand for other facilities such as allotments and sports pitches, this raises major strategic issues for open space as golf courses constitute a significant proportion of the city’s total open-space resource.”
He added that the open-space strategy that the council is launching is “an opportunity to consider sites in another use for which there may be declining demand.”
There are currently six council-run golf courses in the city, at Braid Hills, Carrick Knowe, Craigentinny, Portobello, Princes and Silverknowes.
Green Party councillor Alison Johnstone said: “It doesn’t make sense if we are using a massive percentage of out green space for a smaller group of people than would be interested in allotments or other uses.
“But any review should be as equitable and sensible as possible.”
She also highlighted that many private golf clubs had opened their doors to new members and reduced their costs, reducing the demand for council run courses.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “The open-space strategy will help the council ensure open spaces such as parks, sports pitches and golf courses are utilised to their full potential.
“As golf courses make up a quarter of the open space in Edinburgh, it is important they are included in the study, however information on how these facilities are being used is still being gathered.”