bunkered.co.uk can reveal that the chief executive of Scottish Golf, Blane Dodds, has resigned to take up the same post with Tennis Scotland.
The shock announcement comes just over six weeks before stakeholders are due to vote on the organisation’s new strategic plan – which includes contentious plans to more than double Scottish golf club members’ affiliation fees – at a Special General Meeting in Stirling.
Dodds had been in post for just over a year, succeeding Hamish Grey, who stood down in the wake of the drawn-out amalgamation of the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association. Kiwi Grey has recently taken up a new post as chief executive of Athletics New Zealand, whilst his former deputy chief executive at Scottish Golf, Andy Salmon, was recently named CEO of British Triathlon.
Dodds came to Scottish Golf having most recently been the chief executive of North Lanarkshire Leisure. A one-time Scottish No.2 tennis player, it is believed he continued to serve as Chair of Tennis Scotland even after taking up his position with Scottish Golf - something which has, according to a source, "not sat well with members".
In a statement, Dodds said: “I would like to thank the Board and staff for their dedication and unwavering support during my time with Scottish Golf. I leave with a heavy heart after the progress made to date on our modernisation programme and especially given the significant work under way to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the game via the four-year strategic plan.
“However, the opportunity to lead Tennis Scotland as a former player was the one job that I could not turn down.”
News of Dodds’ departure is a bitter blow to Scottish Golf at the end of a year in which the organisation has seen its sportscotland funding slashed by a third.
A KPMG report last month, meanwhile, showed that the Scotland had suffered the highest attrition rates for registered golfers between 2015 and 2016.
It is believed he will serve a notice period of some weeks and assist with the handover of power. In the interm, Scottish Golf Chair, Eleanor Cannon, will assume an executive leadership position.
“We are disappointed that Blane is leaving Scottish Golf and thank him for his efforts in leading our modernisation programme," said Cannon. We wish him well for the future.
“The timing of this decision is unfortunate, but we acknowledge Blane’s long association with tennis in Scotland and the emotional pull it has on a former internationalist.
“However, the Board of Scottish Golf remains unanimously committed to its core strategic objective, which is to deliver significant investment to the game and provide a sustainable future for it – at a time when the Government is significantly reducing its contribution to the game.
“We will continue to engage with and listen carefully to golfers and clubs over the coming weeks, to underline our belief that by making a relatively small personal investment in the game, golfers can help strengthen the foundations of this great sport and better serve future generations of golfers and visitors to Scotland.
“We acknowledge the concerns of some people and clubs around the detail of our proposals and will obviously reflect carefully on all of the views we are hearing prior to finalising what goes to the SGM by the start of November. Our desire is to continue to consult and build as much consensus as we can around the future of golf in Scotland.”