THE secretary of Millport Golf Club says that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be 'manageable' as she praised members for supporting the club.

With the clubhouse now closed for well over a month, visiting parties and tournament have been cancelled, including the senior open which brings around 120 attendees to the island.

These account for a large percentage of the club’s income, however secretary Patricia Broadley-Clews says the club can get through - at least for this year.

Although the course can now open for play, she told the News the loss of the cash from the hospitality side is a major blow.

Patricia said: “We obviously get quite a few visiting parties so that’s the vast majority of our income gone.

“Probably 80 per cent of our members are non-islanders and we get quite a bit of income from tourists.

“All of these things will impact. It will be a manageable impact for this year, but it will hurt us.”

The secretary was keen to thank members of the club who have continued to pay their fees while the course has been out of bounds.

She added: “95 per cent of our members have paid their fees, we are being well supported by them.

“It has been the members keeping our heads above water. Millport Golf Club has a very strong community, people are very supportive.”

The club has been forced to furlough its bar manager and also had to postpone the arrival of an apprentice green keeper, who was offered the job after taking part in the North Ayrshire Council work experience scheme.

Patricia says the Scottish Government's decision to allow courses to reopen will mean a gradual return with only casual playing and staggered tee times.

She said: “Sadly we’re not going to roll straight into the condition the course was in three months ago.

“We are remaining positive, the greenkeepers are positive and going about their role in a thoughtful manner. They have worked hard to make sure the course is as good as it can be given the situation for everyone coming back.”

The club have also been playing a part in feeding the island, with its facilities being used to run a takeaway food operation, the only service of its kind on the island in the early days of the lockdown.

Ms Broadley-Clews added: “It was a community gesture; I believe it has gone down well.

“Financially the golf club doesn’t gain anything from it but delighted to gain some recognition from it.”

Lockdown was the first time in 132 years that the course was closed, remaining open during both world wars.

The secretary was keen to stress that the lack of visitors to the course does not only affect the club itself, it also has an impact on the local community and economy.

She said: “As a golf club were very welcoming of all our visitors and we appreciate their support and don’t take them for granted.

“All of these visitors being restricted will have a bigger impact on some of the establishments on the island.

“We usually get over 1,000 visitors a year, that affects CalMac, the B&Bs, accommodation and other businesses.

“It doesn’t just affect the golf course, it affects the community of Millport.”