UK golf clubs are finally starting to respect the laws of the land. So says the National Golf Clubs‘ Advisory Association (NGCAA), which gives advice to clubs about all aspects of UK law.
“The past decade has seen the non-stop introduction of new legislation – covering employment, licensing, boundary disputes, personal injury claims, negligence and financial regulation, “says Michael Shaw from the NGCAA. “All of these issues affect the day to day running of clubs, who‘ve finally been forced to sit up and take notice.”
The NGCAA takes around sixty calls each day from clubs needing legal advice and 99 per cent of enquiries handled by the NGCAA are concluded without the need to go to court or litigation.
Shaw says that questions about employment law, discipline and constitutional issues are the most common but that queries about licensing are currently on the increase because of the imminent introduction of the Licensing Act.
He anticipates a flood of enquiries because of changes to disability legislation and believes that proposals to introduce a Corporate Manslaughter Bill will have to be monitored closely so that clubs and their committees can be advised about how to minimise the risk of criminal prosecution.
“Ironically, the compensation culture has had a positive effect on clubs. Many are now worried about facing massive claims, so they tend to contact us at the first sign of a problem, rather than trying to tackle an issue themselves like they would have done once. This helps reduce the chances of litigation significantly, which is in everyone’s interests.”
As if life for the golf club manager was not already complicated enough, Julia Ingleson, managing director of authorised waste treatment facility, Recyclite Ltd, now warns of the legal requirements of the new Hazardous Waste Regulations. Since 16th July 2005 disposal of things such as end of life fluorescent light tubes and computer monitors has been subject to new regulations that mean many clubs in the UK could already be breaking the law.
Under these regulations, users can no longer dispose of ‘hazardous waste’ along with general waste. To do so is illegal, and leaves the organisation open to a fine by the Environment Agency. Further information about the new regulations can be found at www.hazardouswaste.org.uk and www.environment-agency.gov.uk
The National Golf Clubs‘ Advisory Association has over 1,200 member clubs paying a membership fee of £138.50 including VAT per annum. The NGCAA is supported by the R&A and the home golfing unions.