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Finally, some good news in the corridors of Scottish Golf HQ.

The custodians of the grassroots game in Scotland received word on Sunday that its membership passed plans to increase the affiliation fee paid by golfers through their club memberships by £3.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t seem like a lot of money – but tell that to CEO Robbie Clyde.

The former EventScotland boss knew it would not be easy taking on a role in September last year that has been a fairly troubled position in recent years. Clyde, the project director for the Ryder Cup in 2014, is the sixth person to lead the body since 2016.

But where others have failed, he has succeeded.

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The affiliation fee is now £17.50, drastically less than what golfers pay in Continental Europe. In England, that fee is just £10.50, aided by the fact there are roughly 650,000 registered golfers. In Italy, the fee is €100, ahead of Spain (€77), Portugal (€65) and Sweden at €50.

(As a side note, golfers in Scotland should be paying more, a lot more, but that’s for another time.)

When I bumped into Clyde at an event several weeks ago, he was understandably apprehensive about the AGM but I could sense a quiet confidence in his own conviction.

Backed by an experienced team, the new CEO has been touring Scotland for the last five to six months speaking to golf club officials, laying out the ambitious plans they have and, importantly, what they intend to do with the money should the stakeholders give the green light.

Now they have, which means, for the first time in nearly a decade, golfers in this country have an governing body that is able to confidently press ahead with strategic plans to improve the game in the home of golf.

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It is a massive success, it needs to be said.

Yours truly has been extremely critical of some of Scottish Golf’s dealings in recent years. Personally, I thought some of the high-ranking staff involved weren’t the right fit for the organsiation and were out of touch with clubs and the problems facing those clubs.

Clyde is the first boss of Scottish Golf who has effectively ignored the media for the first few months of his new role and just rolled his sleeves up. How refreshing.

Now, they can push on with plans to appoint new regional managers and address big issues, such as female participation and membership rates.

“I’m delighted our proposals were met with their resounding support,” said Clyde. “As a leadership team and board, we’ve spent many hours over the last six months getting out on the road to meet with our clubs, areas and counties, to listen to the challenges which face golf at a grassroots level, and our proposals were developed to specifically help us provide support and growth in the game for the future.

“During this period, we have built and strengthened relationships with our members, to ensure that the work which Scottish Golf does to make the sport more accessible to more people in Scotland, is visible and dynamic.”

Good luck to him.

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Bryce Ritchie is the Editor of bunkered and, in addition to leading on content and strategy, oversees all aspects of the brand. The first full-time journalist employed by bunkered, he joined the company in 2001 and has been editor since 2009. A member of Balfron Golfing Society, he currently plays off nine and once got a lesson from Justin Thomas’ dad.

Editor of bunkered

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