Former LGU chief exec insists that amalgamating is just the first obstacle to be overcome
Shona Malcom, the former chief executive of the Ladies Golf Union, has welcomed the news that the SGU and SLGA are to amalgamate but warned: the hard work starts now.
Malcolm, who left her position at the LGU towards the end of 2014, told Scottish Club Golfer that she ‘believes in amalgamation when it is in the best interests of the game’, which she says the SGU and SLGA merger is.
However, she insisted that getting the constituent voting members of each organisation to agree to the move is just the first of many hurdles that will need to be negotiated.
“There are unquestionably going to be many challenges to come,” said Malcolm, voicing her concern over what she sees as the continuing problem of ‘everyday sexism’ in some golf clubs, with both sexes at fault.
“Don’t get me wrong, things are improving and it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be,” she noted. “However, those attitudes still exist in certain places and we need to tackle them.”
Malcolm added that encouraging women to become more ‘actively involved’ in the governance of the game would be vital to amalgamation delivering on its equality of delivering equal governance, not divided along gender lines.
“I attended the R&A’s most recent Quadrennial Rules Conference in St Andrews in 2011,” she recalled. “I remember looking around the room and noticed that many nations - including those with amalgamated governance, like England, Wales, New Zealand and Australia - were all represented by two men. Where is the future for women’s golf? Well, it wasn’t in that room, that’s for certain. So that’s an issue, too.”
Prestwick-based Malcolm, a qualified chartered accountant, has been involved in various positions in golf administration over the last few decades, including many roles at the SLGA where, she says, amalgamation had been discussed as far back as the late 1990s.
In her role as the chair of the Scottish ‘One Plan For Golf’ steering group, she helped to get the issue back on the agenda and was involved in formulating the initial amalgamation proposal, which failed in May 2011.
Far from being a slight on Scottish golf’s reputation, however, she sees that initial hiccup as a ‘necessary evil’.
“I think that helped the SGU, in particular, to clear a couple of devil’s off their shoulders,” she said. “Besides, what we have now - with 100% agreement on both sides - gives the perfect platform to move forward. It’s necessary, too, because the SLGA was probably not going to be sustainable much longer in its current form and that’s a challenge that would have had to be overcome. So, this is definitely a good move but, like I say, it’s only the beginning.”