‘Some Scottish Golf clubs are considering joining England Golf’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 16, 2019 11:32

A Scottish newspaper has stated that it has been claimed that some golf clubs affiliated to Scottish Golf are ‘looking into the possibility of joining England Golf’ due to a disagreement about handicapping software.

The Scotsman states that, as part of the implementation of the new World Handicapping System (WHS) in 2020, the governing body sent a communication saying that: ‘Scottish Golf will now facilitate the administration of the handicaps of all Scottish Golf club members.

‘Current Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who provide handicapping software for clubs will no longer be given any access to handicapping calculations or any handicap data through open APIs [Application programming interface] or any other means.

‘Clubs will still have the option to use the other services provided by these ISVs but Scottish Golf will become the centralised control point of all handicapping in Scotland. This transformation supports our vision of growing the game in Scotland and we feel that now is the right time to make this change.’

This, states the paper, has upset some golf clubs which have had long relationships with those independent software companies.

‘As the official licensee, Scottish Golf will perform all handicap calculations from all authorised formats of play as outlined in the new WHS rules. It will then publish a player’s newly-calculated handicap index and make this accessible to all clubs and golfers. This will be done through a new central database of handicaps (CDH) and other platforms that are being developed for implementation next year,’ adds the paper.

“I was absolutely astonished when the email arrived from Scottish Golf effectively saying that only one software package will be fully integrated with Scottish Golf’s new CDH for handicap calculations. The arrogance of Scottish Golf in doing this beggar’s belief,” said the secretary of The St Andrews Golf Club.

“There are many ISVs at present who are all licensed by CONGU [theCouncil of National Golf Unions] and presently provide versions of software which cover back office as well as competition and handicapping seamlessly with the existing CDH system. We have a good working relationship with our present ISV and have been using their software since 2000 because it best suits our needs.

“Scottish Golf for some reason has decided to develop its own new CDH away from the other three CONGU nations. This means that Scottish Golf is paying for developing its own version of software rather that paying a quarter of the costs of developing a joint system with the other nations – to do exactly the same calculations and processes. This cannot be a sensible use of Scottish golfers’ money.

“This seems like Scottish Golf are trying to use their monopoly to force clubs to use their version of software. Scottish Golf is supposed to be a body working for it member clubs and golfers and should not be working against hard-pressed clubs.

“Our committee has not met yet to discuss the issue but will do so shortly. I am sure that the committee will consider affiliating the club to another CONGU nation if it is possible and if that is the only way the club can continue to use the hardware and software that has been heavily invested in over recent years.”

The Scotsman also quoted a match secretary, who said: “It is very dangerous moving forward for Scottish Golf to shut out the other providers.

“It effectively means clubs will be forced to use the Scottish Golf system, even though it cannot perform essential back office tasks like member direct debits, etc.

“The new Scottish Golf Venue Management System (SMS) is impressive from the brief example I have seen, but clubs will have to pay for different systems for all of their different needs while Scottish Golf take a booking fee on every tee time booked.

“Scottish Golf don’t have a very good track record with developing computer systems and, if they are the only show in town, they have to get it 100 per cent correct as there will be no back-up option. I have to admit to being extremely worried about the impact on clubs. Sadly, I predict chaos and losing even more people to the game before this is completed.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 16, 2019 11:32
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