Scottish Golf to offer clubs £575,000 support through 25% affiliation fee refund

Scottish Golf is to offer member clubs more than £575,000 of support by way of a 25 per cent refund or rebate on affiliation fees due to the closure of courses by the coronavirus crisis.

Scottish Golf has announced its plan to help clubs struggling to survive during the coronavirus closure. Picture: Scottish Golf

The governing body is also offering "interest free payment plans" to the worst-hit clubs around the country for not only the 2019/20 financial year but also for 2020/21.

The measures were announced by Karin Sharp, the chief operating officer, in her first message to clubs since being handed the reins following last week's shock departure of chief executive Andrew McKinlay.

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On the £14.50 affiliation fee paid by every club member through their annual subscription, she said: "For various reasons, as of today almost 40 per cent of affiliation fees due to Scottish Golf remain unpaid.

"The payment due by date was informally extended to allow time for further internal discussion and we have made no representation to clubs chasing the outstanding balances at this time.

"On a more positive note, as of last week our membership reported an average of 75 per cent of 2020 membership has already been renewed, 64 per cent of clubs have already applied for/received their Government Support Fund, and 76 per cent have made use of Government Furlough. For clarity this is based on 135 clubs that responded."

Turning to the support now being offered by Scottish Golf, Sharp added: "With all of the above taken into consideration, we are now in a position to announce our plans to assist golf clubs from a financial perspective over the remaining six months of this financial year, and into our 2020/21 financial year.

"We are making an immediate commitment to our clubs that offers in excess of £575,000 of support by way of refund or rebate on affiliation fees.

"This equates to 50 per cent reduction of the remaining six months of the financial year. We are also committing to interest free payment plans for any club that needs it for the 2019/20 financial year and the 2020/21 financial year."

The summary of Scottish Golf's commitment is as follows:

* All clubs can apply for a 25 per cent refund on their total 2019/20 affiliation fee invoice. Clubs that have already paid can apply for a refund or carry over a credit to the 2020/21 invoice year.

* All clubs can apply for an interest free payment plan for both the 2019/20 period and the 2020/21 financial year.

* Any club that elects not to take the 25 per cent refund/discount, we will commit that value to a club support fund which will be used for clubs under considerable financial strain. The value of this fund will become clear once all refund applications have been processed and the outcome will be published.

* Scottish Golf will communicate the application process to all clubs within the next 14 days (noting it will be different for clubs who have paid, those who are adhering to committed payment plans and those clubs who have not communicated their intent).

"As a member organisation it is imperative that we all are considerate of each other and work as a collective," said Sharp.

"Here at Scottish Golf we have colleagues, with families, who work hard on behalf of the game in Scotland and whom we have looked to treat with fairness and respect.

"Some of those colleagues we have had to furlough - others continue to work supporting the membership through these challenging times.

"Like our member clubs, we have other fixed business expenses that we must pay, however we are in a fortunate position where the combination of reserves and reallocation of budget from events and performance activity have allowed us to take the financial decision to refund part of the affiliation fee.

"We recognise that some clubs will be struggling more than others in these challenging times, particularly those who don’t have reserves on which they can rely.

"If we commit to working together and supporting each other, golf can come out of this crisis in a stronger more unified way. I will do all that I can to support every club with the resources I have, but I also ask that clubs recognise that my limited team (13 since furlough) are working flat out to adapt to an ever-changing world.

"Following on from today, I will be in dialogue with the Areas and Counties to gain a clearer understanding of the challenges they are hearing of at a local level (many of these calls were scheduled at the end of last week), and I will also make myself available to assist our wider membership in any way that I can."

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