An annual fee paid by around 170,000 club members to Scottish Golf is to increase to £14.50 over the next four years. Seven months after a bid to increase the charge from £11.25 to £15 was rejected, the new proposal was passed with a majority vote of 60.2 per cent at a general meeting in Stirling.
The turnaround, which was instigated by a group calling itself “The Requisionists”, means that an additional £500,000 will be raised by the governing body through the affiliation fee. Offsetting the loss of sportscotland funding, that is to be “ring-fenced” at the request of the stakeholders as Scottish Golf bids to come up with measures to help clubs at a time when many are still struggling due to membership decreasing.
The “yes” vote was welcomed by both Scottish Golf chief executive Andrew McKinlay, pictured, and Eleanor Cannon, chair of the unified body set up almost three years ago.
“I would like to thank the membership for voting in favour of a prosperous future for the game,” said McKinlay, who had been appointed but was still working for the Scottish Football Association at the time of the initial vote. “I understand the subject of affiliation fee has been a contentious one in recent years, but I have been clear on the financial challenges the game faces without the ability to invest in areas that will help facilitate long-term growth.
“We now have a stronger financial foundation on which to build a more cohesive and joined-up national junior programme to increase participation and access to golf for future generations.
“We will also press ahead with plans to make non-member golfers integral to our future, by offering attractive and flexible ways to play and support golf in their local areas, while, at the same time, contributing to the overall development of the game.”
Referring to “The Requisionists”, Cannon added: “The Area and County representatives who came forward eschewed self-interest in favour of the common good: for that, I am eternally grateful and thankful for their efforts and their selflessness. We must now work together as one Scottish Golf family to make golf more accessible to younger members, to incorporate non-members into our offering, to support our clubs and to encourage our players to fulfil their potential. Those aims have been made all the more achievable in light of this evening’s outcome.”