Are there any issues with the public right of access?

It is recognised the public have the right of access over the whole links area. For safety reasons, we will signpost access areas and install warning signs of the dangers of crossing an active golf course. Safe passage areas will be highlighted and it is hoped locals will use these. Dog owners will be expected to clean up any dog faeces and dispose of it in the appropriate bins. A ranger will be employed to ensure the public can manoeuvre safely and that dog owners clean up behind their animals. The ranger will have the power to issue on the spot fines to any dog owner who does not comply with the ‘poop and scoop’ regulations.

Does Blue Thistle plan to purchase the land the golf course is on?

No. Blue Thistle will negotiate an occupancy or management agreement with East Lothian Council. It is understood the land belongs to Musselburgh Common Good and a fair market rent will be agreed and paid into its funds. This arrangement is like the existing arrangements between Musselburgh Racecourse and ELC.

Will there be an increase in green fees and season tickets?

We believe visitors should pay a more commercial green fee in line with other Open Championship venues. Blue Thistle Ltd must see a return on its investments and the improvements made will justify any new rates. However, residents living in the local area can apply for an access card which permits them reduced rates on season tickets and green fees. These will be in line with those currently enjoyed. Inflationary yearly increases will be made in line with current policy. There will be NO charge to apply for the cards.

Will you build a fence around the course?

No. There are no plans to enclose the course.

Will you enforce a dress code?

There will be a dress code for users when playing on the course or the facilities. We do not believe it necessary for a code which demands jacket and tie in the clubhouse but would ask all to be mindful of the atmosphere and ensure their dress is in harmony with the surroundings. Golfers on the course would be expected to be attired appropriately, wear proper golf shoes and have their own set of clubs. Offensive language and behaviour will not be accepted on any of the premises.

Can the golf course cope with more players?

Musselburgh currently hosts around 21,000 rounds of 9 holes annually. We believe with additional greenkeeping staff and investment in conditioning the course could comfortably host 36,000 rounds of 9 holes per year. This will mean a busier course but with the introduction of an online tee booking system golfers will still be able to plan their golf.

How will that affect the existing clubs?

Blue Thistle believe the existing clubs can play an important role in the golf course future. At the appropriate time, detailed discussions will be held with both clubs to ensure continuity of playing privileges. All arrangements will be confirmed in writing through a legally binding contract. It is the intention to improve the facilities at their disposal and give their members a much better experience.

Will Blue Thistle create a new members club at the course?

Yes. Blue Thistle’s Business Model requires the setting up of a new member’s club for wealthy golfers. In part, these member’s fees will assist in financing the new improvements that benefit all users.

Can members of the public use the restaurant in the Stables Pavilion?

Yes. Local persons will be encouraged to try out our new steak and seafood restaurant for lunch or dinner. We will hire quality chefs who understand the importance of using local produce. The restaurant will have a brasserie type feel and be informal in nature.

Will any of this need planning permission?

The changes to the golf course will all be within the boundary of the existing golf course and there will be no change of purpose. As we understand the regulations, there will not be a need to undertake a planning application to upgrade the golf course and make the alterations we would like.

We understand many will wish to have an input and are encouraged to get involved now and let us know your ideas and concerns. The improvements to the existing facilities, including the memorial garden, driving range and additional lounge and patio facilities will require permission. We will ensure we hire the correct professionals to ensure we comply and address legitimate concerns.

Will Blue Thistle make profits from these improvements?

Yes. Blue Thistle has shareholders will want to see a reasonable return for their risk. It is intended to bring wealthy golfers to the area on a larger and much more regular basis and it is from these 97.8% of projected income will be derived from. Much of this income will be reinvested into the golf course and facilities to ensure these are always maintained to the highest specifications possible. Local users stand to benefit the most from these proposals as they will see little change to the cost of their golf while benefiting from a much-improved facility.

Will this impact on the wildlife reservations in the lagoons?

No. All areas in which we will work in will be well away from the sensitive wildlife areas. All efforts will be made to ensure all work will be carried out with minimum inconvenience to neighbours

Will the renovation work close the golf course for any length of time?

It is not our intention to close the entire course during the renovation phase. It may be necessary to close individual holes, or part of a hole, for a short period while essential works are carried out. WE would want to keep inconvenience to a minimum. Temporary tees and greens may be utilised to allow continuous play.

What relationship will you have with Musselburgh Racecourse?

It is hoped good and positive relationships will develop. Blue Thistle believes the Racecourse can only become more attractive because of the changes. Any issues between the facilities would be managed by knowledgeable professionals and sensible outcomes arrived at. There are items we have identified whereby both parties could work together and improve the overall facilities for both golfers and racing enthusiasts.

How will you pay for this?

Blue Thistle has entered a legally binding shareholder’s agreement which guarantees funding of more than £400,000. The Directors have made a reserve of £100,000 if needed. This is sufficient to see the initial stages paid for and delivered. The revenues which will be generated by enacting the comprehensive business plan will be reinvested into the facilities over the next six years. The shareholders accept this project will not make a quick return on their investment and are prepared to wait for the long-term advantages. Their motive is not purely profit driven and believe strongly the golf course and town deserve more. There is a strong philanthropic angle to their thinking.

Will this development bring more employment for local people?

We hope to create up to 40 new jobs. Most these will be made available for local people. The type of jobs will be variable. E.g. Greenkeeping, Administration and Hospitality.

How much do you plan to spend?

Over the next six years (2017-2022) we plan to spend:
£1.8 million in the development and maintenance of the course.
£1.6 million on re-fitting and refurbishing the clubhouse and other amenities.
£2.8 million in marketing the course and club membership.
£3 million a year on wages and salaries

Do you have any plans for the long-term future?

There are many good opportunities which could arise from a successful venture. We would consider the possibility of introducing new locker/gym/spa/office/practice facilities. It is possible a 4 or 5-star hotel may wish to establish itself nearby and we would encourage any such development that would have such a positive impact to the local economy. There are no plans to extend the golf course into the lagoons area.

If you have a question which isn’t answered here or require further explanation, please e-mail us with your enquiry.