In their own words: Scottish Golf CEO Andrew McKinlay

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu October 1, 2018 10:32

The chief executive of Scottish Golf details the state of funding of amateur golf in Scotland ahead of a key meeting about affiliation fees on October 4.

Andrew McKinlay

Communication and consultation are central pillars of any decision-making in business but especially so in members’ organisations such as our own.

My early months as CEO have been spent travelling the country and listening to the views of Scottish Golf’s constituencies. I broached the question ‘What is the point in Scottish Golf?’ in my previous column and it was with that in mind that we embarked on a series of regional forums conceived to allow our members the opportunity to air their views on how the governing body for the sport can better serve its membership.

The feedback may not have been unexpected but the ability to engage at a local level to discuss improvements, perceptions and misconceptions provides us with a solid platform to build a more prosperous future. It also enabled me to outline the strategic priorities that will ultimately enable us to deliver improvements in participation, performance, club support and commercial investment.

Reassuringly, the key themes from the forums  – attended by Area and County representatives, clubs and players – were firmly in line with those priorities. Better communication, more focused club support, a clearer performance pathway, a more co-ordinated event calendar and commitment to improved governance were all areas that created debate and, fundamentally, achieved consensus on our priorities.

As the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish. To that end, we have prepared a four-year plan that we plan to present to sportscotland, the national funding agency, to demonstrate our commitment not just to the membership but to underpin golf’s ability to help the Scottish government achieve its stated aims in physical and mental health and wellbeing.

I was greatly encouraged by my first meeting with the new Minister for Sport, Joe FitzPatrick, and I made a point of saying that collectively we have a huge opportunity to do something really special.

sportscotland funding equates to 25 per cent of our turnover and we are grateful for that contribution but we cannot build for the long-term with year-to-year funding and so a four-year plan is aligned behind our strategic priorities and also gives us the stability to grow income elsewhere.

The final quarter of the year will give us momentum to push through our proposals for growth in 2019. Two strands in particular will have a significant impact on our ability to invest in ongoing development of the game for existing members and to unlock new opportunities for the many thousands of people who play golf in Scotland but who are not affiliated to any club and, by extension, the governing body.

There will be a general meeting at the start of October which has been called by a section of the membership seeking to revisit the affiliation fee following the AGM earlier this year. Since our annual meeting, we have budgeted without the proposed affiliation fee increase and have been clear on the impact it would have on the ability to invest at the same levels on members’ services and events.

If the resolution to increase the affiliation fee is passed then the benefits to the membership and the game are clear. We have given the membership our commitment that any additional revenue from an increase in affiliation fee would be ring-fenced for key areas of investment to help us deliver on our strategic priorities.

We are also committed to working with our clubs to unlock the potential that remains untapped among the nomadic or freelance golfers across the country, utilising app-based technology. In an era of flexible gym memberships and unbundling of television subscription channels, we simply must be attuned to the needs and wants of the modern consumer, which in turn would enable us to encourage younger golfers to play more often and ultimately help support the game in Scotland.

Visit for more information on how to get involved. Join the debate on Twitter @ScottishGolf or share your moments on Instagram @wearescottishgolf


Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu October 1, 2018 10:32
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