EXCLUSIVE

Scottish Golf 'not listening', say Area figures

Scottish Golf Flag

The fallout from Scottish Golf’s AGM has continued with the governing body accused of 'not listening', 'having its own agenda' and 'spending too much money on elite golfers' by Area representatives.

At the meeting on Saturday, Scottish Golf's problems were brought to the fore as the proposed affiliation fee rise from £11.25 to £15 was rejected, while chair Eleanor Cannon said she'd been subjected to 'disgraceful' abuse in the lead up to the AGM.

Now, three Area representatives have spoken of their disillusionment with Scottish Golf, suggesting that the long-standing discord between the parties is perhaps greater now than ever before.

“There’s a lack of trust – and this goes back to the Hamish Grey days,” Gordon Campbell, honorary secretary of Stirlingshire Golf Union, told bunkered.co.uk. “They need to get the basics right. For example, they have these development officers but some clubs have never seen them.

Scottish Golf

“They need to give a proper breakdown to clubs of why they need the extra money, state exactly what they’re going to do with it – not just say other projects. Then, I’m sure most clubs would accept a small increase on the fee.

“A lot of clubs are also miffed they’re giving out a six-figure salary [for a CEO] at a time when they’re talking about saving money. Add into that a lack of clarity. There is information out there but it’s often difficult to get to.”

More than a quarter of Scottish Golf’s expenditure (26%) is on Performance which, supported by sportscotland funding, includes the Development and Performance academies and men’s and women’s national squads.

Eleanor Cannon

For Iain Robin, secretary of the South of Scotland Golfers’ Association, that percentage is far too high, with not enough emphasis on the average club golfer.

“We’re not happy with the amount of money they’re spending on the elite golfers,” he said. “They’ll be much better spending the money on grassroots golf.

“They’re not listening. They’ve got their own agenda and they just want to bulldoze it through. It’s not what the Areas and Counties want. We think they’ve got to do their day jobs before they start progressing any further.”

Dennis Little, secretary of the Border Golfers’ Association, also criticised the distribution of Scottish Golf’s funds, with far too much weighting towards elite amateurs.

“They’re not spending money on the average golfer,” he said. “It seems to be on performance and elite amateurs, which is not what I feel Scottish Golf should be doing. Scottish Golf is for everybody – not for the elite – and the average golfer needs to be taken more into consideration.”

There were also question marks raised by the representatives over amalgamation and whether, in fact, the governing body is better off because of it.

Amalgamation

“When we agreed to amalgamate, we knew that wasn’t the best way forward but there was pressure put on us by saying that the government was going to take away the grants if we didn’t,” added Robin.

“We amalgamated – and then they took the grants away anyway. There’s amalgamation at the top level, amalgamation at club level and chaos in between.”

Little added: “Amalgamation had to go ahead but that took a lot of time, money and expenditure.

“Eleanor said in her opening presentation [at the AGM] that she’d spoken to the ladies’ counties and they were happy by themselves and it’s like, ‘Why did we bother going through this process if the women don’t want to join up?’. So it seems to me like three or four years wasted.”

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