Scottish Golf has set its proposed new national affiliation fee for club members too high, according to those working at the coalface of the game in the Capital.
Clubs around the country have now been informed that the governing body is proposing to raise the charge from £11.25 to £24 next year.
The step is being taken by Scottish Golf CEO Blane Dodds as he bids to raise £4 million, part of which would be used for investment in clubs, over the next four years to counteract a cut in Sportscotland funding and also a drop in sponsorship income.
“The governing body is committed to addressing the downturn in participation, commercial income and public funding to reinvigorate the game at all levels,” said Scottish Golf in a letter to clubs. “To achieve this, we have made a number of recommendations in our plan to ensure a stronger sport in Scotland. We propose an increase of £12.75 to the current adult affiliation fee of £11.25. The benefits of this increase will be significant to all members now and in the future.”
However, two club secretaries have told the Edinburgh Evening News that they believe Dodds has a fight on his hands to secure sufficient support for his proposed increase.
“If SGL just need more money, then they should have gone for a smaller per capita increase and not tried to baffle everyone by adding in a lot of bits and pieces to bulk up their proposal eg including a tee-time booking system for all clubs,” said one, who asked not to be named. “I do not want anyone other than our club to be in sole control of our bookings.
“The customer relationship management system being proposed is something that I personally would be even more against as it will just be a marketing tool for SGL. I can’t see any benefit to our club, especially if the system turns out to be as good as the CDH (the Central Database of Handicap), which we all know is rubbish.”
Also speaking under anonymity, another club secretary said: “I feel the increase – over 100 per cent – is far too much in the first year. I thought they might have gone for £15, which I feel would have had a chance of being accepted. We have already set their fees for 2018 which is inclusive of affiliation fees, so immediately we are £12.75 down per member
“I have been talking to our members about the scenario and they say all they feel they get from Scottish Golf is a handicap. In all honesty, if club members were not looking to play in Open events, clubs could allocate handicaps to members and pay no affiliation fees for them.”