Ahead of amalgamating into a unified governing body on Thursday, 1st October, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) and the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA) have announced a restructure of their Development team, which will see an increase from three to eight Regional Club Development Officers providing dedicated face-to-face business support to clubs.
The news comes a year to the day since The Ryder Cup began at Gleneagles, when The Scottish Government announced a funding boost of £1 million over four years, with investment focused on attracting more adults into the game and an emphasis on family golf, building on the successful ClubGolf national junior programme.
Since then, 90 clubs across Scotland are now running ‘Get into Golf’, a coaching programme aimed at beginner adults and a platform for clubs to offer introductory memberships, with the SGU and SLGA providing a wide range of tools to assist clubs with marketing to their local communities.
The latest membership figures in Scotland are encouraging, with total club membership up by 2.14% at 223,000 for 2014, with playing membership showing a slight drop of 0.56%, the smallest decline this decade. Men’s playing membership has fallen by 0.29% with women’s numbers down by 0.75%.
Early indications show that junior girls’ membership has increased by just over 3% as ClubGolf continues to make an impact, building on The Ryder Cup legacy.
Andy Salmon, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Golf Union, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government for its additional funding which has been channelled into supporting clubs and inspiring more people to play golf.
“The SGU and the SLGA enjoy the biggest club membership base of any sport in Scotland, but we are always seeking to drive more people into the game and into our clubs, especially through the opportunities that the new governing body will present.
“We believe our joined up approach to ClubGolf and Get into Golf will hold much more appeal to clubs and to families, while we will continue to introduce young people to the sport through more targeted school programmes.
“The new structure also significantly enhances our ability to help clubs establish a modern governance structure and develop their own business plans, as well as strengthening our commitment to education for managers and committees. This work has been a major breakthrough for us in recent years and having increased personnel on the ground will be a major boost to clubs.”
The eight Regional Club Development Officers will be the dedicated point of contact for clubs, providing support in five key areas; Governance and Business Planning; Education; Get into Golf; ClubGolf; and the wide range of Tools and Resources on offer to clubs.
Other key changes within the restructure include the appointment of three Regional School and Community Officers, a Coaching Manager and an Education & Resources Officer. These new posts will focus on ClubGolf within schools, an increased emphasis on coaching within the participation programmes and the ongoing use of tools and services to support club development.
The new staff structure has involved existing SGU and SLGA staff and has been effective since 1 September, before their amalgamation from 1 October into a unified governing body.
Scottish Golf www.scottishgolf.org