Scottish golf clubs urged to be 'accurate' with membership numbers

Bosses at Scottish golf clubs are being urged to tell the truth about the number of new members they attracted as the sport enjoyed a boom this summer after coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Scottish Golf's deadline for clubs to record membership numbers for 2020 is looming. Picture: Scottish GolfScottish Golf's deadline for clubs to record membership numbers for 2020 is looming. Picture: Scottish Golf
Scottish Golf's deadline for clubs to record membership numbers for 2020 is looming. Picture: Scottish Golf

The plea has been made by Scottish Golf's chief operating officer, Karin Sharp, as the deadline looms for affiliated clubs to report annual membership figures to the governing body.

That figure determines how much Scottish Golf is due from each club through the £14.50 affiliation fee paid by club golfers as part of their annual subscription.

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A number of clubs around the country have enjoyed a rise in membership this year, including Moray Golf Club in Lossiemouth, where over 300 new members have been signed up.

That boost alone should see an additional £4,000 go into Scottish Golf's coffers, with Sharp stressing the importance of "accurate" recording in an email to clubs.

"As we use the information to inform progress against investment targets and to track membership in golf clubs, it is important that the return is accurate and includes all adult members with playing rights, irrespective of how often they access the club and/or whether they have an official handicap," she said.

"Whilst the per capita fee does not apply to your junior members or social members, we do ask for accurate data on both these categories as we use this for other purposes, most significantly in applications we make to external funders for support of the junior game.

"We are aware that there have previously been incidences of clubs failing to submit accurate or consistent data which has a direct impact on our ability to invest in the game across Scotland.

"Therefore, we ask that you ensure the accuracy of your return and please be aware that we will be checking returns against those previously submitted and other publicly available data.

"We are not looking to penalise past errors in submission, but we are looking to ensure accuracy in these and future returns. Tracking and understanding the membership landscape across Scotland is critical at a time when we are working hard to position the importance of the industry to the economy."

After golf clubs went into lockdown earlier in the year, Scottish Golf came up with a support package worth more than £575,000 by way of a refund or a rebate on affiliation fees for last year.

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Now the governing body is considering offering further help to clubs hit by Covid-19 through "extended" payment plans for this year.

"Whilst we know that a number of clubs have benefitted from increased membership following the easing of lockdown, we are also acutely aware of the perilous financial situation a large number of clubs are still facing with the continued uncertainty caused by Covid-19," added Sharp.

"Therefore, we are providing all clubs with the option to spread payments over a longer-term than previously has been offered."

“To assist clubs with planning and potentially to access extended payment plan terms, we are looking for all club data to be returned no later than 14 October 2020.

"Payment plans will be offered once the returns have been validated and the invoice issued, which will commence from November 2020 if the submission deadline has been met."

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