Scottish Golf has announced that it is inviting clubs to apply for a refund of up to 25% on their total 2019/20 affiliation fee invoice as part of an immediate financial commitment of more than half a million pounds.
The news, first revealed by chair Eleanor Cannon on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Sportsound’ programme yesterday, has been explained in more detail by Chief Operating Officer Karin Sharp.
In summary, clubs that have already paid their affiliation fees can apply for a refund or carry over a credit to the 2020/21 invoice year.
All clubs can also apply for an interest-free payment plan both for this year and next. Should any club elect not to take the 25% refund or discount that has been made available, Scottish Golf is pledging to commit that value to a ‘Club Support Fund’, which will be used for clubs that are under considerable financial strain.
The full value of this fund will become clear once all refund applications have been processed and the outcome of that will be published.
Scottish Golf has also pledged to communicate the application process to all clubs within the next 14 days.
Announcing the plans, Karin Sharp – who was appointed to lead the organisation following the shock resignation of chief executive Andrew McKinlay last week – said: “Our financial year runs from October 1 to September 30, so the coronavirus pandemic impact on golf course closure happened just a few days short of 6 months into the current year.
“The regulations of Scottish Golf state that all affiliation fees are in fact due by the end of January but, in recent years, Scottish Golf moved this to the end of March to try and assist clubs with cash flow based on when a large portion of club membership fees fall due.
“For various reason as of today almost 40% of affiliation fees due to Scottish Golf remain unpaid. The payment ‘due by’ date was informally extended to allow time for further internal discussion and we have made no representation to clubs chasing the outstanding balances at this time.”
Sharp added that, as of last week, an average of 75% (based on the 135 clubs that responded) of 2020 membership has already been renewed, with 64% of clubs have already applied for or received their Government Support Fund. Furthermore, 76% have made use of Government Furlough.
“If we commit to working together and supporting each other, golf can come out of this crisis in a stronger more unified way,” said Sharp. “I will do all that I can to support every club with the resources I have, but I also ask that clubs recognise that my limited team (13 since furlough) are working flat out to adapt to an ever-changing world.
“Following on from today, I will be in dialogue with the Areas and Counties to gain a clearer understanding of the challenges they are hearing of at a local level… and I will also make myself available to assist our wider membership in any way that I can.”