Golf plan calls for £7.2m to develop game in Scotland
MORE than £7 million needs to be spent on Scottish golf over the next eight years to ensure it develops properly at all levels, according to a new plan for the sport.
Based on the findings of a comprehensive survey of the country’s golf clubs and golfers, the ‘Facilities Plan’ being proposed by Scottish Golf, which includes representatives of the SGU, SLGA, PGA and sportscotland, also calls for the creation of 50 development centres. It is claimed they are needed after the survey highlighted a “lack of good practice facilities, either indoor or outdoor, with limited access to coaches, preventing the average Scottish golfer from reaching his or her potential”.
To fulfil this goal and others in the plan, the total cost has been estimated at £7.2m over the next eight years – an average total investment of £900,000 each year to 2020 set to be funded from a variety of public sector and private sources. More than £5m has already gone into golf facility development in Scotland since the launch of clubgolf, the national junior initiative, in 2003.
“This comprehensive survey identifies and establishes the priorities for investment among Scottish Golf’s stakeholders, such as sportscotland, local authorities and golfing bodies,” said Andy Salmon, Scottish Golf’s development manager. “The findings have helped us shape our Facilities Plan to provide a more structured approach to supporting the long-term sustainability of clubs and courses.
“Investment in facilities has previously been relatively ad-hoc. However, we can now direct funding where clubs are committed to good practice in terms of governance, business planning, access for juniors and environmental standards.
“We will also ensure that the investment will meet the needs of the individual golfer, reflecting their feedback which included a desire for better practice facilities, improved clubhouse facilities and a better quality of course.”
The survey revealed Scotland has a total of 597 golf courses and, with 89 per cent of the country’s club actively seeking new members at the moment, it claims that new 18-hole courses in the home of golf should only be considered in “exceptional circumstances”. It also revealed that waiting lists are currently in operation at just 14 per cent of the clubs and more than half of them did not make a profit in the past 12 months.
With the feedback highlighting a “strong emphasis towards junior development”, the plan proposes to encourage existing clubs to act as ‘introductory centres’ by welcoming beginner golfers to learn the game and improve. It is hoped 450 such clubs and facilities can be in place by 2020, though it is claimed at least 75 per cent of clubs would already match this criteria without any additional investment.
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