Eleanor Cannon 'stepping down' as Scottish Golf chair

Eleanor Cannon is stepping down as chair of Scottish Golf as part of sweeping board changes for the governing body.

Eleanor Cannon was appointed as Scottish Golf's first chair in August 2015 and is now in her second term

Cannon, who is in her second three-year term, is finishing up in March along with three non-executive directors – Stewart Darling, Bill Woodley and Sean Duffy.

The news has been revealed in an email to Scottish Golf's member clubs by chief operating officer Karin Sharp.

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"Scottish Golf Chair Eleanor Cannon, and non-executive directors Stewart Darling, Bill Woodley and Sean Duffy, are stepping down in March next year," said Sharp.

"The organisation is inviting applications from those in the Scottish golfing community who wish to play a key role in leading our sport in the years ahead."

Cannon was named as the first chair of Scottish Golf in August 2015, her appointment coinciding with the amalgamation of the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies' Golf Association.

She was then re-appointed in March 2019, which meant her second term was due to end in 2022, but that is being cut short by 12 months.

Cannon, an experienced board member within public and private companies, has had to navigate some choppy waters at the helm.

When she started, Hamish Grey was Scottish Golf's inaugural chief executive before Blane Dodds took over and then Andrew McKinlay.

Sharp was then handed the reins when McKinlay, who recently became the new chief executive at Hearts, stepped down earlier this year.

Cannon's spell as chair also coincided with some big fall-outs within the Scottish game as the governing body increased the annual fee paid by golf club members through their clubs.

An initial proposal to more than double that from £11.25 to £24 was scrapped before the green light was given almost exactly two years ago to raise it to £14.50.

The search is now on to find Cannon's successor, with Sharp insisting that the new chair will be overseeing an organisation that is in a "strong position".

"Our commitment to the game is to make golf Scotland’s game for everyone, where we inspire a nation to embrace the sport in all its forms and contribute to a healthier, inclusive and aspirational Scotland," she said.

"As a member organisation, our key focus is in providing quality support services to our member clubs to help ensure they can prosper and to bring significant additional revenue from new sources for reinvestment and growth of the game nationwide.

"Scottish Golf conducted a survey during August 2020 of both affiliated clubs and their members. The results of that survey show Scottish Golf to be in a strong position.

"Members stated that the organisation is well-established with high levels of awareness from golfers, strong golfer engagement through Scottish Golf communications, and an understanding of how affiliation fees are used to benefit the sport."

The governing body has invested heavily in a new digital platform that is currently being rolled out to clubs.

"The system is now fully operational in around 40 clubs, with a further 130 clubs in the process of adoption," said Sharp. "With strong interest from more than a further 150 clubs, Scottish Golf’s VMS underpins the future strategy for the organisation."

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