EGU worried that Yorkshire will stop merger

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 20, 2011 11:39

EGU worried that Yorkshire will stop merger

The English Golf Union (EGU) is concerned that the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs will block its attempts to merge with the English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) next month.

All 36 English county unions will vote on November 16 on the proposal, which, if accepted, would see amateur golf in England run under the same umbrella. This would also unlock £13 million of Sport England funding from 2013, partly to be invested in junior participation at golf clubs. Currently male amateur golfers are run by the EGU and the ladies by EWGA, although the two organisations work closely together.

However, the Yorkshire union, which represents 192 clubs and therefore has 192 votes – regardless of how many of its clubs oppose the majority verdict – has more clout than any other voting union. It has consulted its members over the proposed merger by email – and received just three responses. Most other unions have held meetings with their members over the topic. In order for the merger to go ahead, both the EGU and EWGA will need to obtain support from a majority of at least 75 per cent of their members; Yorkshire represents about 10 per cent of the entire EGU membership.

John Petrie, chief executive of the EGU, said: “Most other counties have invited clubs to attend briefings into the merger proposal, and that’s the best way. I’m a Yorkshireman, I understand the problems of getting representatives from all 192 clubs across a vast county to a briefing. But if you send an email you might not get a response.

“Each club in England apart from less than one per cent of our membership, is inclusive of men, women, boys and girls; so do we want a governing body that mis-represents that?

“Secondly, if we were to start with a blank sheet of paper we would not even contemplate a separate game for men and women.

“And thirdly, the benefits of it would greatly aid the game of golf, through funding in particular. Nobody has yet come to me and given me a reason why a merger would be bad for the game.”

For every woman playing golf there are six men but the merger would see the new authority’s 10-person board divided into six men and four women.

The Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs’ secretary, Keith Dowswell, said he was not opposed to a merger, but did have “concerns” about the proposal.

“We would like to know from the EGU a little more detail on the funding and cost savings and we have a little concern about representation on the committees, between men and women,” he said. “We have not made recommendations to how the clubs should vote and we are very anxious to vote in the best interests of English golf.

“We are not against a merger in principle but, having said that, the current situation with men running men and women running women has been pretty successful.

“We would have appreciated a bigger say in the consultation process. We also feel the merger proposal should have been subject to a longer period of consultation.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 20, 2011 11:39
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