Job losses seem inevitable at the organisation’s offices in Edinburgh and St Andrews due to cuts of up to £450,000 set to be implemented over the next 18 months.
That is down to a combination of sportscotland funding having been slashed and a bid by Scottish Golf to offset that by raising an affiliation fee paid by club members being rejected.
McKinlay, who previously worked for the Scottish Football Association, started his new role this week and is ready to get his teeth into the challenge of limiting the impact of any job losses.
“I would hope we can get some quick wins,” he said, speaking in the Capital as he announced a decision by Aberdeen Standard Investments to extend its backing of Scotland’s leading men’s and women’s amateur golfers by two years.
“The intention is to have another golf convention (the first of its kind in the Home of Golf was staged at the EICC last December) at the end of the year and I would hope to see a different feel about things.
“There won’t be a quick fix. We have a strategy for the next three years and that’s a sensible time to make some good changes.
“It’s nothing earth shattering. It’s to look at increasing membership, to focus on women and families, less of a reliance on members’ money and to help clubs reverse certain trends. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect us to be doing.
“Those are the problems. What we need to work on is what are our actions and objectives to achieve that.”
McKinlay joined the SFA just over six years ago as director of football governance and regulation before taking over as the Hampden-based organisation’s chief operating officer in 2016. Latterly, he served as the interim chief executive officer following Stewart Regan’s decision to step down in February.
Commenting on his new role in a different sport, he added: “The first priority, as it would be in any job as a leader, is to get to know my own team and get to understand what they are involved in.
“This afternoon I am going to the office in Edinburgh and tomorrow I am going up to St Andrews. I want to hear from them what they are feeling. It has been an unsettling time for them. I want to let them know I am here now to help them drive things forward.
“As for the external priority, I think Scottish Golf needs to seek a real clarity as to what it’s purpose is, what its role is.
“I think we need to make sure we are connecting properly with our members. There’s obviously something they are not 100 per cent happy about at the moment. So I want to get out there and listen to them, understand where we can help them.”
“Scottish football and working at the SFA has probably served me as a good apprenticeship. I am quite resilient. I understand members’ organisations. I understand the politics of members’ organisations. So none of that concerns me.”