Global Edition

GDPR – Good News on Golf Club Photos

1.05pm 12th May 2018 - Management Topics

Chateau des Vigiers / Andy Hiseman

Golf photographer and PR agency owner Andy Hiseman has positive GDPR-related news for golf clubs who are concerned about people photos on their

websites. This follows reports of many golf clubs receiving legal advice to remove people photos if no signed consent forms were originally obtained.

In April 2018 Hiseman posted a formal question to the Information Commissioner’s Office: if no signed consent forms are in place, must golf clubs take their people photos offline after the May 25th GDPR deadline?

Their response: no, as long as the individuals had originally been made aware that their photo was being taken and had given verbal consent at the time, and as long as the photo was being used in the legitimate interests of the golf club.

In almost all cases, said the ICO, if an individual complains that their image is being used on a golf club website, the worst that can happen is that the club will be asked to take the image offline.

Fears of savage GDPR fines for images where no consent forms have been signed appear to be unfounded, therefore.

“This is good news for UK golf clubs” said Hiseman, from Magic Hour Media. “Clearly each club should take its own legal advice on the matter, but my own telephone conversations and subsequent email exchanges with the Case Officer at the ICO produced unequivocal advice. I feel it should allay the fears that some golf club managers have regarding people images on their websites.”

The Shire London / Andy Hiseman

Hiseman received a detailed written response from the ICO on this exact matter and is willing to share the response with individual club managers on a private basis.

Summarising the ICO’s stance, Hiseman said: “The advice I received is clear. If an individual is identifiable in a photograph, then their personal data is being processed. Therefore, golf clubs need to establish a lawful basis under the GDPR to continue to use these images.

“Consent is one of the lawful bases, but another is the ‘legitimate interests’ basis, which can be reasonably applied to golf club marketing activity such as displaying an image on a website. Clearly the club’s use of the image must not be to the detriment of the individual, but as long as the person was originally aware that their photo was being taken for the golf club’s marketing purposes, and agreed to it, then the ICO’s view is that it would be within the individual’s reasonable expectations that the photo would subsequently be used in a legitimate manner by the golf club.

“And if the individual later changes their mind and removes that verbal consent, the ICO told me that – in the first instance following a complaint about image usage – they always advise individuals to first raise the issue with the organisation concerned in order to give the latter a chance to take any necessary remedial action, which usually means the immediate removal of the image. Unless the person’s image was being used to their clear detriment, then that is likely to be as far as the complaint goes, according to the advice that I recveived.”

Golf club managers wishing to see the ICO’s written advice on golf club people photos should contact Andy Hiseman at, or by email at, or by calling Magic Hour Media on +44 (0)1226 781000.

Or discuss it directly with the ICO via the Helpline 0303 123 1113, or by visiting

Top picture: Tewkesbury Park / Andy Hiseman

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