Two leading figures in the group calling itself “The Requisitionists” have called for an end to divisions around Scottish Golf in the wake of the governing body getting the green light to increase an affiliation fee paid by club members.
Seven months after a bid to increase the annual charge from £11.25 to £15 was rejected, a new proposed fee of £14.50 was passed by a majority vote of 60.2 per cent at a meeting in Stirling last Thursday.
The fee, paid by around 170,000 club members, will raise an additional £500,000 for Scottish Golf, which offsets the governing body’s loss of sportscotland funding.
The result was welcomed by both Scottish Golf chief executive Andrew McKinlay and chair Eleanor Cannon, pictured.
“The Requisitionists”, made up of made up five men’s Area associations – Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Lothians, North East and Perth & Kinross – and Renfrewshire Ladies and Midlothian Ladies have also now responded to the “yes” vote.
“We are obviously glad the majority of the membership shared our view that this was the last chance to intervene and help Scottish Golf to better serve its members before the inevitable consequences of proposed cuts took effect,” said Paul Gibson, president of the Lothians Golf Association.
“For too long there has been a ‘them-and-us’ approach in clubs’ relationship with the governing body and it doesn’t serve either side well in the long run – ultimately the game suffers. I detect a shift in attitude at the top and in proposing the increase we were clear that any additional income from the members had to be ring-fenced for areas that focus on development for the members.
“I’m sure my colleagues among the requisitioning group would share my view that it has been an interesting experience and one in which we found ourselves confronting some of the old attitudes but the outcome shows that we want the game to thrive, not just for us but for future generations.
“We know only too well that people’s social habits have changed at a far quicker rate than the sport has, but we know what needs to be done to make it attractive and Scottish Golf now has a mandate and financial security to deliver on its strategic plan.
“Andrew McKinlay said again this weekend that the per capita debate has been a divisive issue and, like him, I am keen that we move away from the issues of the past. We can work together to make sure golf is enjoyable for all generations; that it is a sport girls, boys and young people in general want to get involved in, and ultimately, through more participation and opportunity we can produce more top-class golfers, and identify champions of tomorrow.
“Those aspirations got a little easier on Thursday night, but there is still a lot of work to be done. For the sake of the game, we are glad we spoke up before it became too late.”
Derek McGlynn, president of Renfrewshire Golf Union, added: “I am pleased that the game has voted in favour of progress. The outcome gives Scottish Golf and, crucially, its many constituent parts, the security with which to improve the game at all levels.
“It is now incumbent on Scottish Golf, its board and staff, to work collaboratively with its member clubs and players to deliver the strategic priorities which they have committed to. I urge everyone with golf’s best interest at heart to unify behind those plans in order to ensure a brighter future for our game and the next generation of golfers.”