SGU lines up financial experts to help struggling clubs

WHILE Scottish golf has not yet suffered the ignominy of seeing one of its clubs shut due to the recession, a team of experts is waiting in the wings ready to offer help should such a scenario be imminent.

With membership levels in Scotland having dropped by 2.6 per cent in the men's game and 4.6 per cent on the ladies' front over the past year, clubs the length and breadth of the country are struggling to make ends meet.

Last year Dollar Golf Club went public with its problems and organised a 'Drive to Survive' event, which saw four of the country's leading amateurs at the time – Wallace Booth, Gavin Dear, Gordon Yates and Scott Borrowman – visit the club along with European Tour pro Callum Macaulay to help raise funds to keep it alive.

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"There are a number of clubs that are being challenged but, at this stage, we are not aware of any (going under]," said Hamish Grey, the Scottish Golf Union's chief

executive.

"Someclubs have found people locally to help out.

"Take Dollar, for example. They made use of SGU squad members and we also sent along the Eisenhower Trophy and European Team Championship Trophy and, for a small club, they raised a substantial amount of money that has secured its immediate future as they look at plans for re-development."

Echoing the SGU's willingness to help member clubs, chairman Douglas Connon added: "We have tried tomake people aware that, if they dohave issues, we will be able to help or get some leverage by providing the expertise they might need.

"We have a number of named individuals, experts in finance, legal, general business and so on, who have agreed to be available to help. You tend to find people on the committee of a club with issues often have businesses with some issues as well and can't give the club all of their time, so that's why we are trying to help by being pro-active."

Last year the SGU tried to help clubs attract new members by running a campaign under the tag of 'Love Golf? Join The Club'. A similar project will be orchestrated

by Glasgow-based agency Merchant Soul this spring.