Scottish Golf Chair Cannon nominated for new three-year term

Scottish Golf

Eleanor Cannon is being nominated for a further three years as Chair of Scottish Golf.

Cannon, whose current three-year term is due to expire, will stand for re-election at the body’s annual general meeting early next year.

The news was revealed within a story on the Scottish Golf website and comes ahead of the national conference, which Scottish Golf is staging in Edinburgh on December 1.

“Eleanor Cannon, as inaugural chair, has been through the initial wave of transformation within the organisation,” it says.

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“With her considerable corporate experience at board level, she will provide continuity to the leadership of the board and accountability to the membership through this next period of investment in the game.”

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Cannon, who, in August 2015, was named the first Chair of Scottish Golf after drawn-out attempts to amalgamate the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies Golfing Association were finally resolved, has had to navigate frequently choppy waters during her time at the helm.

The organisation appointed its third chief executive in three years in February, with Andrew McKinlay succeeding Blane Dodds, who himself lasted just over a year after replacing Hamish Grey.

Also this year, Scottish Golf appointed its third Performance Director, with Clare Queen taking over from Stuart Clayton. Like Dodds, Clayton had spent just over a year in the post, having succeeded Steve Paulding.

Eleanor Cannon1

Cannon’s time has also coincided with protracted, contentious attempts to raise the affiliation fee paid into the organisation by golf club members through their clubs.

An initial proposal to more than double the levy from £11.25 to £24 was scrapped late last year, before a new proposal to raise the fee to £16 was rejected at the Scottish Golf AGM in March. Speaking to in the aftermath of that particular vote, Cannon called out leading Area figures, saying she had been subjected to ‘disgraceful’ abuse. An affiliation fee of £14.50 was finally agreed at a General Meeting in Stirling last month, and will come into effect in January 2019.

Matters haven’t been helped by cutbacks in sponsorship revenue and sportscotland funding, as well as ongoing participation issues. A September 2017 report published by KPMG showed that the number of registered golfers in Scotand fell by more than 6,000 from 2015 to 2016 – more than any other country in Europe – whilst the same report claimed that Scotland suffered more course closures during the same period than any other European country.

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On the plus-side, some individual clubs have successfully bucked the overall participation trend, whilst it was announced in August that the newly-formed Scottish Golf Buying Group had helped clubs save make savings of more than £100,000 combined.

In May, Scottish Golf also reported a 30% increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017. The same month, it was announced that Aberdeen Standard Investments had agreed to a two-year continuation of its partnership with Scottish Golf, which will see ASI continue its support of the country’s leading male and female amateurs.

As well as seeking re-election for Cannon, Scottish Golf’s nominations committee will also recommend the appointment of Stewart Darling to the Board of Directors for a further three-year term. Malcolm Kpedekpo will, however, stand down when his term expires in March.

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