Martin Dempster: Dodds deserves chance to reinvigorate club scene

The strange thing about the per capita fee paid by Scottish golfers is that the vast majority don't even know they are paying it. That's because it is incorporated in their club membership subscription and, let's face it, even when it rose above a tenner for the first time in recent years, no-one really noticed. Those who do know about it, frequently ask the same question. 'What does Scottish Golf do for me?' And, until the clubs became more of a priority in the past few years rather than sending out teams around the world and arranging national events, the answer to that was 'little or nothing'.

Blane Dodds, CEO of Scottish Golf. Picture: Craig Watson
Blane Dodds, CEO of Scottish Golf. Picture: Craig Watson

Now, that per capita fee is about to be drawn to the attention of the vast majority of the 200,000 golf club members in Scotland for the first time because of the increase being more significant than it ever has to date. From £11.25, it is likely to rise to between £20-£25 and that will certainly get people talking, even though it might only be costing them £2 per month. If it had been put forward by the old regime, such a proposal would have had no chance of being passed and it is by no means a certainty that will happen at a special general meeting on 2 December. If Blane Dodds can spell out the benefits of his strategy to stakeholders in the coming weeks with the same clarity as he did in his media briefing, though, then it has certainly got a chance of getting across the line.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

It seems to make sense to introduce a customer registered management system – it, for instance, should address an often-aired moan about communications between the governing body and club golfers being poor – and the same goes for a national tee-time booking system.

If he is true to his word, Dodds will try to ensure “extra value” is provided to members from the proposed new fee and, while it remains to be seen if can indeed reinvigorate the club scene, he 
at least deserves that opportunity.

This simply isn’t the time to be making massive budget cuts, even though Scottish Golf has grown into something unrecognisable from the days when the old Scottish Golf Union consisted of a four-strong staff in a house in the Royal Burgess car park.