LGA appoint woman to elected post for first time

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THE Lothians Golf Association has followed the lead of the Scottish game’s new unified body by appointing its first woman to an elected post.

The ground-breaking addition of Jean Macnab, a former club secretary and captain at West Linton, to the LGA Council was unanimously approved at the AGM held at Newbattle.

“It wasn’t particularly a conscious decision to appoint a woman,” said Lothians president Allan Shaw. “It was more to do with the fact that Jean has got the skills we are looking for.

“She’s an accountant and we are asking her to do the finance convenor’s job. She also has a legal degree, so we will get her involved in the impending revamp of our constitution. The fact she has also been club secretary and club captain at West Linton means that background is an important factor as well.”

Macnab’s appointment comes in the wake of Scottish Golf becoming the unified body running the amateur game in the country, as well as at a time when a sea change is taking place at Capital clubs.

Two women, Karen Ballantyne and Louise Fraser, are the current club captains at Craigmillar Park and Kingsknowe respectively. That historic honour will also fall to Sheila Stuart and Turnhouse in January then Margaret Keith at Duddingston shortly afterwards.

“Broomieknowe have also had a lady captain one back and West Linton have had two lady captains,” added Shaw. “There’s a lot of ladies who are coming through with skills that are contributing to golf in the Lothians. The whole ethos of our new governance is finding the right people with the right skills and Jean is the perfect person for this particular post.”

Macnab, the only new office bearer among six re-appointments, described her role as an “exciting challenge”.

Bucking the national trend, the LGA saw membership numbers rise by two per cent this year. “This is the first time we’ve had an increase for a while,” reported former president Jim Thomson as he stood in to present the accounts.

In contrast, he described 2015 as being a “difficult year” in terms of tournament entries. A drop of 30 per cent translated into a decrease of £3700 on last year. On the back of that, the LGA fixture list is set to be shaken up next year after a comprehensive review. It won’t be unveiled in full until next month, but the Lothians Championship is moving from May to July. In another change, the stroke-play qualifying will be held at the same venue for the match-play stage.

Douglas Connon, representing the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, encouraged Lothians officials to be vigilant about slow play at all events in 2016. “Can we ensure that play is at least speeded up?” he asked.

Shaw pointed to the last group in a field of 90 players for this year’s Lothians Championship qualifying getting round in three hours and 45 minutes and stressed that was “reasonable”.

He added that six officials had received specific training on pace of play and said they could help clubs monitor that issue.

Craigmillar Park stalwart Bob Kilgour has stepped down as the LGA’s honorary president and a decision about that role will be covered in the new constitution.

Kilgour’s clubmate, Robert Bald, has also retired from the Council, while George Henderson and John Wood are cutting back on their involvement with the LGA after serving on committees for 28 and 24 years respectively.