Avril Campbell reports that an Edinburgh-based company has approached the East Lothian Council with a £10 million plan to restore Musselburgh's Old Course, six-time Open Championship host and arguably as important as any course in the development of golf.
Blue Thistle Ltd, the Courier has learned, has approached council members to discuss “a bold and exciting proposition” which would see the nine-hole, par-34 course “regenerated, restored and recreated to the style and reputation of its former glory”.
East Lothian Council says it is “aware of a commercial desire” to “take over” the course.
A Blue Thistle Ltd spokesman said it hoped to capture the heritage of the course and “broadcast” it to a global audience. It wants to return the course to its 1896 set-up, with lost features recreated and placed in new positions.
He said: “This will challenge the modern golfer as well as the traditionalist who likes to play with hickory-shafted clubs. Some new tees and greens will be built. A course with the quality of an Open Championship venue is the goal.”
One councillor, John Caldwell, is already “vigorously” opposed to the plan. However, given that the course has been in danger from elimination, has been neglected at times and has recently seen plans approved that will alter the historic Mrs. Forman's, the plan should be considered.
Most of you know I think this is one of the great places in the game and a model for the kind of intimate community golf we need more of. Oh, and it's an immensely important place in the history of our sport and the golf business.