Scottish Golf Courses

Merger gets GREEN LIGHT ...what now?

What needs to be done between now and October 1? Where will the new body be based? Will there be job losses? Your questions - answered!

THE decision by the voting members of the SGU and SLGA to back Scottish golf’s amalgamation proposal brings to an end the debate over whether or not the merger of the two bodies will happen. Now comes the detailed  process of actually setting up the new organisation.

To be called Scottish Golf Limited, the amalgamated body will come into effect from October 1 this year, six months and one day after the agreement to merge was passed by the SGU’s Area Associations at the EGM in Stirling.

In that time, a number of important issues will be addressed and questions answered so that, when Scottish Golf Ltd starts its work, it does so on the best possible footing.


Speaking on behalf of both organisations, SLGA chairman Beth Paterson told Scottish Club Golfer: “There is a significant amount of work to be done between now and when Scottish Golf Limited becomes active from October 1, in addition to the ongoing day-to-day operational work for both SGU and SLGA throughout the golf season, so it will be a very busy spell but a hugely exciting period for us.”

Issues that need to be addressed include undertaking the process to appoint a new board. It will comprise nine people, with a minimum representation of three men and three women. It is hoped that it will be in place by the end of July or early August, which would allow for a sensible period to transfer operations from the existing two bodies into the new body.

A new brand identity will also need to be considered, a ‘Business Transfer Agreement’ will need to be finalised, and budgets and annual plans will need to be prepared. To achieve this, a ‘Governance Group’ made up of two directors from each of the SGU and SLGA will oversee the process, and a Joint Working Group comprising senior executive staff and board representatives will undertake the detailed work on the transition project. Some of these tasks will be decided on by the existing boards, whilst others will require the agreement of the new board.


Another logical question to ask is this: where will the new body be based? That will be a matter for the new board to discuss but existing leases at The Duke’s in St Andrews and the joint base within sportscotland’s Edinburgh office are in place until the beginning of 2018. It will also be up to the new board to determine a staffing structure for the new organisation. Will there be job losses as a result of overlapping roles? That, Scottish Club Golfer understands, has yet to be determined.

When it does come into effect, Scottish Golf Ltd will need to tackle a number of issues as an urgent priority. Amongst those are key aspects outlined in the ‘Amalgamation Proposal’ document, such as a commitment to review the method by which clubs pay subscriptions and how best the proposed regional and national forums can function. There is, however, a joint SGU/SLGA strategy and action plan from 2014 to 2018, which addresses many of the ongoing issues, challenges and opportunities within the game.

So, there is much to do over the next few months to get Scottish Golf Ltd off the ground and, thereafter, to ensure it continues to serve the best interests of its constituent clubs, Areas and Counties, commercial supporters, and, of course, the country’s golfing public.

These are exciting times, for sure - but, equally, they’re not for resting on laurels.

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