ONE of Ayrshire's most celebrated golf clubs are set to close before Christmas.

And this week Councillor Donald Reid voiced his regret about the demise of Beith Golf Club.

At an EGM last week, members decided to wind up the club, effective in just two months' time, informing the Ayrshire Golf Association of their decision.

The club, which was instituted in 1896 and is one of the oldest in Ayrshire has suffered a decline in membership in recent years, to the point where the membership were not in a position to guarantee future losses.

They moved to their present course in 1907, as a nine-hole layout, with the present clubhouse being opened in 1974 and the course being extended to 18 holes in 1995.

Options including continuing until the end of the club year in February 2018 and reducing the course back to nine holes were considered but the membership had little appetite for the options and agreed to wind up the club.

Beith Councillor Reid said: "It is obviously regrettable that an organisation with such a wayward history is winding up. They have such a long and distinguished reputation and have such a long history. People are worried about losing their jobs, or finding it difficult to make ends meet.

"When you have to make cuts in the household it's things like football club season tickets or golf memberships that go. Because there are sufficient funds for the club to meet their debts this is the time to act rather than when they dip into the red. They are doing that to protect the committee members.

"I have heard they might go back to a nine-hole course as they were previously, if they could get enough people to sign up and that would reduce the cost. All golf clubs are struggling because of job insecurity. If your costs outweigh your income you have a problem.

"They have had a reducing membership over the years."