Scottish Golf to significantly reduce affiliation fee proposal

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 14, 2018 13:00

The governing body of amateur golf in Scotland is set to significantly reduce the increase in the amount it wants members of all affiliated clubs to pay.

Due to a funding crisis caused by a drop in members in recent years and reduced investment from sportscotland, Scottish Golf had proposed increasing the affiliation fee from £11.25 to £24, but this proposal was met with fierce opposition from members and clubs.

During the discussions the chief executive of Scottish Golf, Blane Dodds, quit and the vote on the price increase was postponed from December 2017 to March 2018.

With a new chief executive, Andrew McKinlay, starting shortly, the organisation is reportedly about to offer a new proposal – for the affiliation fee to be increased by just £3.75 to £15.

Scottish FA CEO Andrew McKinlay named as new chief executive of Scottish Golf

However, according to The Scotsman’s Martin Dempster, even this concession may prove to ‘be difficult to stomach for the majority of golf club members’.

“I personally think that the increase is still going to be difficult to stomach for the majority of golf club members as, although the actual amount is small, the percentage increase is 33 per cent,” Steven Brand, who is the match secretary at Aberdour, told The Scotsman.

“For club members to accept such a fee, Scottish Golf must address the issue of transient golfers who are not affiliated to golf clubs and they must also look to charge fees relative to a club’s turnover to help out the smaller clubs. Many members don’t see what benefit they receive from the affiliation fee, although through the match secretary role, I have experienced first hand how Scottish Golf staff help with handicap queries, rules queries and so on.

“At the moment, golfers are paying to be members of clubs, and then being charged an additional amount to be affiliated to Scottish Golf. Golfers who 
simply play golf at a different course every week pay neither membership fees or the affiliation fee. “Scottish Golf have to address such issues, and they need to forget about the CRM and centralised tee booking. I would also note from their accounts that, despite funding and subscriptions falling, salaries at Scottish Golf have increased year-on-year.”

The vote on the new proposal will take place at Scottish Golf’s annual general meeting at Dalmahoy early next month.

The new figure should raise £4 million over four years, states Dempster.

At a conference in December delegates were told average annual subscriptions to Scottish golf clubs will rise by more than 80 per cent in 10 years due to the current funding crisis.

Annual golf subscriptions set to soar in Scotland


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 14, 2018 13:00
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  1. Pete February 19, 14:49

    Your courses are to big, take to long to play & cost to much…for these reasons you continue to lose courses & golfers. People have lost interest in the golf game, since it no longer fits their quicker paced life styles.
    Don’t believe me, ask the younger people!

    We on the other hand, have reduced the size of the course, quickened the pace of play and made the game time & cost efficient and now have more golfers playing. And we did it by being Thrifty!


    We simply use a new Hybrid golf ball developed for the shorter course. It provides the same golf experience in 1/2 the time & cost with much more enjoyment.

    So if you want to sit there and agonize over your situation…go ahead. We decided to actually do something about it and it didn’t cost us any more than the price of a golf ball!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jonathan February 17, 13:54

    So….. club members wont pay £1 a month extra to support the game they love! Sad state of affairs!

    Reply to this comment
  3. djm February 15, 14:10

    It says a lot about the mindset of “Scottish Golf” that they originally proposed increasing the affiliation fee from £11.25 to £24. It says even more that despite the fall in funding & subs, their salaries have increased year-on-year. It’s a quango that has no place in the future of golf. Time to shut it down.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Dave February 14, 22:04

    Increases will reduce memberships – many golf club members in all parts of the UK resent having to pay this “tax” to subsidise the Unions and their hierarchies – May I quote the millions spent by the authorities on building their flagship course at Woodhall Spa, a copurse in the middle of no-where for 95% of UK population. I know many, who now play social golf, who rejected membership of their local golf club simply due to this ubiquitous tax they have to pay for nil return in the majority of cases

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