Scottish Golf Courses

Scottish Golf ‘a shambles’, says former tour pro

Exclusive two-time tour winner Forsyth lays into governing body

Exclusive two-time tour winner Forsyth lays into governing body

Two-time European Tour winner Alastair Forsyth has branded the current state of Scottish Golf as ‘a shambles’.

The 42-year-old, who now teaches at Mearns Castle Golf Academy in Glasgow, laid into the governing body as it continues to go through a troubling period, with the most recent knock-back seeing the proposed affiliation fee hike from £11.25 to £15 rejected by stakeholders at its AGM in March.

It was a huge blow for the organisation, which now has a figure of between £300,000 to £450,000 wiped from its budget over the next 18 months, with chair Eleanor Cannon declaring that, even after trimming the workforce from 48 to 32 in recent years, jobs were at risk.

It follows the short and unsuccessful tenure of BlaneDodds, who saw his vision for Scottish Golf vehemently dismissed by clubs and Areas before it even reached the decision-making stage, as well as the release of a report that revealed Scotland had lost more club members – 6,711 – than any other European country from 2015-16.

But Forsyth understands completely why the hike was rejected, claiming that club members don’t know what they’re getting from the body to justify raising it.

“At the moment, everyone is looking at Scottish Golf as a shambles,” he told UK Club Golfer. “Everyone thinks their junior development is a shambles.

“I listened to the chair Eleanor Cannon on a radio show recently and she said there was an apathy from the Areas to work with Scottish Golf – and I’m sure there is. But the whole feeling towards Scottish Golf at the moment isn’t positive.

“Scottish Golf has got to improve that relationship in order for clubs and Areas to get onboard. Then there’s a chance that the clubs and the Areas will agree to this proposed fee hike.

“I know it’s not a lot money – £3-£4 extra per member, per year is nothing. But people have to see something as a result of it. Everyone has to be singing from the same hymnsheet.

“They’ve got to explain where they’re going. There’s got to be a period of stability and hopefully the new chief executive [Andrew McKinlay] will hang around a bit longer than the last one.”

Forsyth also criticisedClubGolf, Scottish Golf’s national junior programme, describing it as merely a box-ticking exercise with no clear pathway from the initial stages to keep juniors playing.

“They just come out with these numbers to say that X amount of kids got the opportunity to swing a golf club. Ok, but how many actually joined a golf club? How many were taken to a golf club and were given an opportunity to join?

“I don’t think it was successful at all. If you look at the level of junior members, is it more or less? It’s a lot less. There just wasn’t a follow up to it and maybe that should have come from clubs and Areas individually.

“It’s all well and good getting schoolkids involved – but what happened next? That for me was always the downfall of ClubGolf. I might be being a bit harsh, but the results show that not nearly enough kids joined as a result.”

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