THOUSANDS have backed calls to save West Dunbartonshire’s only public golf course after it was revealed that it could be axed amid “rapidly reducing budgets”.

We previously reported that a petition had been launched last week in an urgent effort to prevent Dalmuir Municipal Golf Course from being downsized/closed for good. It has since gathered nearly 7,000 signatures.

The petition was created by Gerry Smith, a Drumry man who has been playing at the landmark course for over four decades now.

Glasgow Times: The 51-year-old, who is match secretary at Overtoun Golf Club - one of several who plays at Dalmuir - told the Glasgow Times that the course is like his “second home”.

Gerry said: “It’s not only a golf course. It’s a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life, it’s somewhere to exercise and take care of your mental health.

“It’s used by so many people from West Dunbartonshire and beyond so it’s not as if it lies dormant.

"If I didn’t have golf I don’t know what I’d do, it’s the only recreational thing I have. On Saturdays and during the week at night after work it’s my way of releasing any tensions and I’m not the only person who says that.

“Every Saturday almost 100 golfers turn up and we run ties during the week. I’m a bit disgusted that they [West Dunbartonshire Council] are proposing to close the course.

“I’ve been playing golf since I was around five years old and I’ve always played at Dalmuir, it’s like my second home and I’ve met a lot of people in my life through this.”

Dalmuir Municipal Golf Course is owned and maintained by West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC).

On March 6 the local authority will meet to set its 2024/25 budget with councillors tasked with plugging an £8.3million black hole.

The proposal to downsize/close Dalmuir – sent to golfers on February 17 - is just one of 56 options that will be on the table at this meeting.

Documents published by WDC state that the number of visitors to the course last year had reduced from the previous year and that “no external funding is available to support the operation of the golf course”.

As a municipal course, Dalmuir operates on a pay-as-you-play basis. As well as golfers who turn up on the day various golf clubs are based at Dalmuir including Overtoun, Radnor Park, and Dalmuir Clyde.

Members of these clubs pay £275 annually for a season pass on top of their club fees.

Glasgow Times: Gerry explained that he would be in favour of an increase in this price rather than the course being downsized but claims the council hasn’t offered this option.

The Drumry resident added: “The letter outlined two things that could happen; cut it to a twelve-hole, or close it completely which the council say is the most viable option.

“The £275 season pass is well worth it for what you get and you can pay on the day which I think it’s around £15 for a round of golf.

“If you were to go to the likes of a private club you’d be looking at £30-50 for one round, so it’s a lot more affordable.

“If this closes it’s going to impact a lot of people. With our club fees and a season pass it’s less than £500 a year but if you were to go private you’d be paying over £1,000 a year, it’s always a more expensive option. Not to mention travel costs there and back.

“Even if they [WDC] were to turn around and say we’re putting the price of a season ticket up it would still be a better option than closing it but they’re not even giving that option.

“The club discussed the option of downsizing and we all agreed it’s not feasible to reduce because the layout at the moment is unbelievable and everyone who plays the course knows it’s one of the best layouts in golf.

“If you change that it wouldn’t be the same golf course and it would not get the same attraction it has just now.”

On a recent trip to Dalmuir, several golfers expressed their frustration to our reporter over the decision.

One person said: “I think they should start with maintaining it first. I know that sounds daft given they can’t finance it right now but if they spent a bit more time on it they’d bring in more money.

“You need to put money in to make any back.”

A second added: “People aren’t playing in here in such high numbers because of the state of the course.

“It’s like people are being driven away.

A third commented: “The council's website is still advertising that this has a café and a fully-stocked pro shop, it’s got nothing.

“They’ve let it go slowly but surely. If it was to be downsized I think it would eventually close.”

A WDC spokesperson said: “A meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council will take place next month to discuss the budget for the upcoming financial year.

“No final decisions will be taken on any of the options presented until this meeting.”