Most visitors to Perth (along with many Perth residents!) might not be aware that Perth is home to one of the oldest golf courses in the world – and it’s only a 10 minute walk from the city centre!
Perth was right at the very centre of the golfing world back around the time of the first Open Championships and was even considered as a possible host venue at one point. Many of the great names of the game played golf in Perth and part of the course which is still in use today was even designed by Old Tom Morris – the same person who designed the Old Course at St Andrews among many others. Over the years the course has changed dramatically but the North Inch course still has many of the original holes and even one of the original clubs – the Royal Perth Golfing Society – still plays there.
These days the course plays host to six different clubs as well as a growing number of season ticket holders and visiting golfers from all over the world.
The North Inch course offers something for everyone and one of their main aims is to give everyone young or old a chance to learn and play golf. The game can often be seen as a bit stuffy or old fashioned but at the North Inch they are trying to change all that with initiatives that make the game more accessible. They’ve done away with dress codes, joining fees and waiting lists and instead introduced flexible payment options, shorter rounds and Footgolf!
What if I’ve never played golf?
Perfect! There’s a “wee” 6-hole short course for beginners, a practice area and a putting green – ideal to get you off and running. They will even kit you out with clubs for free (well you need a deposit but you get that back!). You can then either stick to the 6-hole short course, go for 9 holes on the main course or the full 18 – it’s up to you.
If you get bitten by the golfing bug but you’re still not sure if the full season ticket is for you then there’s the option of a “Get Into Golf” season ticket which is a cheaper alternative to the full season ticket and is intended to act as a stepping stone to full membership. “Get Into Golf” also includes group coaching sessions for those who are new to the game or who have never been a member of a club before so it’s a great way to meet new golfing buddies and get some help with your swing at the same time.
Already a golfer?
Then a season ticket could be for you. You can of course pay as you play but if you are a regular golfer then a season ticket is the best value option. The season ticket can either be paid at the start of the golf season in April or spread out in monthly instalments then if you are looking for a bit of competition or just a bit of socialising on or off the course you can join one of the many and varied clubs who play on the “Inch”.
Got a young star in the making?
A big part of growing the game relies on encouraging kids to take up golf and to encourage this a Junior season ticket at the North Inch costs only £20 but comes with loads of benefits! Unlike a lot of clubs juniors at the North Inch can play anytime and can even sign up for free summer camps which are held throughout the school holidays and get four hours of professional coaching included in the cost of their membership. There are also “roll-up” classes every week where they can meet other kids and play in a mini competition over the “wee course”.
Ladies who golf
Ladies are also well catered for at the North Inch with a free ladies-only coaching session every fortnight which includes free club hire and use of the par 3 course. It’s a great way for any ladies interested in golf to get out on the course and give it a try whilst picking up a few pointers along the way from members of the Perth Ladies Golf Club who very generously volunteer their time to come along and help out.
Seniors Golf – 65 and beyond!
Over 65’s benefit from discounted prices on season tickets and will be able to take part in soon to be launched fortnightly coaching sessions manned by members of the Perth Merchants golf club. There have also been numerous studies published recently on the health benefits of golf, both physical and mental, and with none of us getting any younger it’s a great low impact way to stay active in your later years (golfers can walk up to 5 miles around and burn up to 1500 calories – who needs a gym!) Golf has also been shown to help with balance, mobility and cardio-vascular fitness; it’s no coincidence that golfers tend to outlive the rest of us!
And for something a little different…
And finally for anyone who is looking for something a wee bit different how about giving Footgolf a try! Launched in early summer 2016, Footgolf has proven to be a popular addition to the North Inch. As the name suggests it is a combination of the two sports and involves kicking a football into a larger than normal golf hole. Golf rules apply and the lowest score wins! With 9 holes open at the moment and plans for a further 9 to be added, Footgolf is here to stay and going from strength to strength – add it to your list of fun things to do with the family!
You can find out more about all the happenings at the North Inch by visiting the website at www.northinchgolf.co.uk