EXCLUSIVE

Clubs object to Scottish Golf systems "monopoly"

Scottish Golf

bunkered.co.uk has learned that a number of golf clubs in Scotland have lodged official objections with Scottish Golf with regards to its new system that is designed to be the ‘centralised control point’ for handicapping in Scotland.

The move by Scottish Golf has angered a number of clubs, who feel they are being forced out of using Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

The new system is a result of the World Handicapping System (WHS) coming into play in 2020, with Scottish Golf keen to operate it entirely by themselves.

The software has been trialed at a number of clubs and will reportedly undergo some ‘dual running’ in April to give clubs time to work their way out of contracts with current Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

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However, it is understood some clubs will incur additional costs due to licenses needing to be paid in early 2020, before the new system comes into play.

Speaking to bunkered.co.uk, one club official said clubs in one area were angry at Scottish Golf for making the software appear mandatory.

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Scottish Golf chief executive Andrew McKinlay has described the software as a “game changer”, adding that it was essential if clubs were to stop money spent by golfers in Scotland from going to ‘commercial organisations’.

Scottish Golf say the new system, which is provided free of charge, will put Scotland on the front foot when tackling current membership decline.

Scotland has lost approximately 80,000 registered golfers in the last 15 years.

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A meeting recently took place involving almost every club in one area. Scottish Golf were invited to face questions, but didn’t attend.

“The feeling in the room was that there is a complete lack of communication with the clubs,” one official told us. “There is no grassroots engagement with any club and we get nothing other than a handicap for our £14.50. Nobody had any great objection to Scottish Golf providing a system, but did object to it being mandatory and not allowing clubs to continue using their chosen systems.”

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A number of clubs also raised concerns about the new system remaining ‘free’.

“(Some clubs) fully expect a license fee to be charged down the line. There was a lot of debate about the specification of the system, as nobody knows what it does or doesn’t do.”

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One club said the system was “nowhere near as good as the commercial systems” currently in place. There was also a call for better support for migrating data when the time comes.

Speaking in December 2018, McKinlay said he was understanding of the “stresses and strains clubs are facing” but that the new technology being introduced across the country would make life “easier” for clubs and bring in “significant potential revenue that clubs would otherwise not have had”.

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