Scottish Golf’s planned Special General Meeting, which had been scheduled for December 2, has been cancelled.
The body has today announced that the date will instead be used to hold an open forum to engage with golfers, and that its period of consultation to finalise a new strategy will be extended until March next year.
This follows a broadly cold reaction to suggested changes to amateur golf governance in the country, laid out in the original proposal document published just weeks ago.
The news also comes just over a week on from the resignation of Scottish Golf chief executive Blane Dodds, who is leaving the organisation after just over a year in charge to take up an equivalent position at Tennis Scotland.
In a statement, Scottish Golf said that, in light of Dodds’ departure and following consultations with a wide range of stakeholders in the recent weeks, its Board felt that the ‘immediate priority’ should be securing a new leader for the organisation.
“In the interests of transparency, the December meeting will be a public event to bring some of the many private conversations that take place about the future of the game to a wider audience,” added the statement. “It will be a conference-style event, with the opportunity for all stakeholders to attend.
“The Board is pleased that the proposed strategic plan has created wide-ranging discussion among all those who care passionately about our sport. Critical to this consultation period is listening to our members, which is why we believe the date already scheduled in the diary for the SGM should be utilised to provide a platform for debate.”
The position vacated by Dodds will be formally advertised shortly and Scottish Golf’s Board is reportedly ‘pleased’ by the ‘calibre of potential candidates’ who have already expressed an interest.
The Board also intends to use the organisation’s cash reserves to bridge the immediate funding gap but added that this is ‘not a long-term approach’ and that they will ‘seek to rebuild those reserves in the coming years’.
The statement went on: “On 2 December, we want to engage golfers in debate and discussion on a number of subjects. These include the key trends and challenges facing golf in Scotland and the potential impact of these on club revenue and membership fees; what feedback and surveys suggest members increasingly value and demand for their membership fee; addressing our ageing demographic profile and low uptake of membership amongst young people and women; embracing digital and technology capability to enhance the experience for all golfers; reviewing governance and structure; and engaging our communities to grow club revenue.
“In light of the well-documented cut in public funding and continued decline in club membership, it is essential that we hear as many perspectives as possible as we look to address significant challenges now impacting the game in Scotland.
“This is the backdrop against which changes will be proposed to the game’s shareholders in 2018. We will do so with one objective: to secure the future for our game in the Home of Golf.”