The merger of the English Golf Union (EGU) and the English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) was approved at simultaneous general meetings of both organisations yesterday afternoon and will come into effect on 1 January 2012 to create England Golf, one national governing body to represent all amateur golfers in England.
The merger proposal was approved by 86 per cent of the voting members of the EGU, meeting at its headquarters in Woodhall Spa; and by 100 per cent of the voting members of the EWGA, meeting at the National Motor Cycle Museum at Solihull.
Both organisations had to approve the proposal by a majority of at least 75 per cent for it to be successful.
The decision was immediately hailed as a triumph for golf and a vital step forward for the game.
Nigel Evans, Chairman EGU and Sylvia Perrins, Interim Chairman EWGA said: “This merger is in the best interests of golf and we are delighted that it has been given overwhelming support by our members. We look forward to a new era and to realising our vision for the future.
“England Golf will speak with one voice and send out the powerful, modern message that golf is a game for all, for men and women, boys and girls.
“A unified organisation, which promotes both the men’s and women’s game, will be more attractive to new golfers, will help us to grow the game, will be more appealing to commercial partners and sponsors and will mean we can be more cost effective.”
The merger vote followed a long period of consultation and preparation, which began in 2009 when a steering group was formed of members of both organisations. Following lengthy discussions, and the involvement of ten working groups, the proposal was produced and ratified by the Boards of both organisations before being put to the voting members.
Key points of the merger:
- The headquarters of England Golf will initially be at the National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa. The EWGA offices in Edgbaston will continue in use until at least October 2012.
- The counties will continue to be the voting members. Counties will be encouraged to merge their Unions and Associations, but this will not be mandatory.
- The Board of England Golf will initially include 10 stakeholder non-executive directors, six nominated by the EGU and four women nominated by the EWGA. One of these 10 will be nominated as Chairman.
- The first sole President of England Golf will be a woman. The President will be supported by the immediate Past President and the President-Elect. One of these three will always be a woman.
- Club golf will go on, from day-to-day, as it does now, but members will benefit from the positive perceptions created by the merger and by the better support available for clubs.
- All the championships and tournaments currently run by the EWGA and the EGU will continue.
- The regional and group structures of the two organisations will continue to run competitions. The decision-making role of the EWGA regional committees will end.
- Affiliation fees for men and women will be harmonised and will be equal by 1 January 2014. Women will continue to pay an additional subscription to the Ladies Golf Union.