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If you’ve held a membership at a golf club at any point in your life, there’s a good chance you’ve had an encounter with the committee.

Even if you haven’t, your perception probably goes something like this: a group of retired men, who sit in the clubhouse, and generally don’t get too much done. While this is a sweeping generalisation, in many cases, it’s not far from the truth.

At Shotts Golf Club, a venue situated half an hour from Glasgow, that certainly isn’t the case, and they’re proud of it.

In 2023, Dylan Murray will be the club captain, at the grand old age of 27-years-old. A member of the club since he was 11-years-old and a member of the committee since he was 20-years-old, the current vice captain and green’s convenor says it’s something of a natural progression for him, despite others raising eyebrows.

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“I grew up in Shotts and the golf club has been a big part of my life,” he explained.

“It was at the club AGM when I was 20-years-old, they were looking for younger members to join the committee.

“I think someone had touted me to join because I was involved in the club and had been asking a lot of questions about how things were run. I was asking questions, not in a bad way, but just wanting to know more and get more information. I was asked to go on the committee and I was quite happy to have a go at it.”

Shotts Handshake

Murray hasn’t just had a go, but as vice captain and green’s convenor, he’s played a key role in big changes at the club. They include the installation of Sky Sports in the newly renovated clubhouse, new tee signs on every hole and a new catering team, as well as a new-found interest in how the golf course is maintained.

As current captain Jim Law explained, Dylan’s get-up-and-go attitude has made him a valuable addition to the team, and a change to what you might expect from the demographic of most committees around the country.

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“Dylan was one of the members who I knew, if they said they were going to do something, that he would go and do it. He would do it and do it quickly.

“When I first joined the committee in my first few meetings, I’m not sure if I impressed too many people, when I was saying, ‘Nothing seems to really be happening here.’ It would go three months and they would still be talking about the same things. But, Dylan said, ‘I’ll take this on.’

“Most of the time, when you think of the perception of a golf club committee, you think of guys who are retired, collar and tie, standing at the bar, telling their friends they’re on the committee. But, what do you actually do on the committee?”

Clearly, in the last year, the club’s committee has been busy, and not just sitting in lengthy meetings.

“The first couple of meetings I went to, I was getting back about 10pm after starting at 6pm,” Jim continued. “I mean, that’s outrageous, and still things weren’t getting done.  

“We would have 11 people talking about stuff every month, all different views, but then nothing would actually happen, and I thought, I’m not having that.”  

Now, though, meetings are usually done before the sun sets, and they’re much more productive for that reason. The club’s social scene, which by their own admission had been slow, is now one of their main draws.  

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“We spent £4,000 on doing up the ladies’ toilet, and honestly, you wouldn’t have let your wife, mother or partner go into the previous one,” Jim said.   

“Now, it would sit in a nice hotel no problem, but someone said to me, ‘Why are we spending £4,000 on a ladies’ toilet?’ He was a committee member a long time ago and he said, ‘There’s no women up here playing.’  
I said to him, ‘What if we have a visitor or there’s a social night?’ and I think the penny maybe dropped a little bit then.”   

Shotts Golf Club Sign

As you might imagine, you can’t please everyone at a golf club, and while it can be frustrating for the pair, there’s no hard feelings when criticism or tough questions might come their way.

“Some guys think it’s all rosy. I even had someone say it must be great getting your fees paid for you, but that’s not the case, of course,” Dylan said.

“Some people just think you drive in and get your parking space down the front and that’s it, but it’s hard graft.

“With Sky Sports, I had some people coming to me asking why we’re spending money on it in the clubhouse and not improving the golf course, but I think even they are eventually coming round to the idea.”

In the new year, it will be all systems go for Murray as he takes the reins of the club. The biggest project on his agenda, he says, is a swing room, that is set to be equipped with a TrackMan simulator. Once again, it’s a hefty expense, but one he believes will pay dividends in the future. The more people coming in to the clubhouse, the better. That, along with keeping key members of staff and continuing to improve the golf course, are his priorities.

“I know I’ll feel anxious, but I’ll be excited at the AGM when I officially get the captaincy. But, you’ve got to get into these areas where you’re under pressure to see what you can do.

“It’s an honour to be your club’s captain. I think I’ll be remembered as the youngest captain at the club for a while, and there probably won’t be many younger captains across the country, so it’s great to have that input and have my name on the board.”

Find out more about Shotts Golf Club here.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

Performance Editor

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