In their own words: Scottish Golf CEO Andrew McKinlay

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 14, 2018 16:39

The new chief executive of Scottish Golf explains the role the organisation plays in amateur golf in Scotland.

Andrew McKinlay

What’s the point of Scottish Golf?

As an interested observer to the debate surrounding the proposals to increase the national affiliation fee, the question became a recurring theme as clubs, members and golfers wrestled with the realities for the long-term health of the game in the ‘Home of Golf’ against the need to ensure sustainability for themselves.

I attended the ‘Future of Golf Conference’ in Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre last December, partly through curiosity as a member of Pollok, but largely – unbeknown to many in the auditorium – to gauge the unfiltered realities of the Scottish golfing fraternity’s relationship with its governing body, whilst in the midst of a recruitment process.

I left encouraged, informed and above all motivated to become the next chief executive. That earlier question has been integral to my first 100 days. After six years at the Scottish FA, during which time I served as director of football governance, chief operating officer and, laterally, interim chief executive, I am accustomed to the unique and sometimes rarefied atmosphere of the sports governing body: a members’ organisation that is, in effect, not-for-profit in that it distributes funds to the wider game; yet paradoxically a commercial organisation challenged with increasing finance to distribute.

It can be confusing enough for those of us inside the organisation, never mind those whose wider interests we exist to serve and enhance. What’s the point of Scottish Golf? It has become a daily mantra in my initial phase of meeting staff, clubs, Areas and Counties representatives, sponsors and the wider constituency.

We have worked hard to provide a clarity of purpose for Scottish Golf: for now and, even more importantly, for the future.

Scottish Golf remains the largest members’ organisation in the country. Golf has the broadest active participation age demographic of any sport. The health benefits of the sport are greater and more attainable than any fitness fad. Golf in Scotland is estimated to generate revenues in excess of £1bn per year.

So why have we been too modest to extol its many virtues and, fundamentally, celebrate and promote the role of Scottish Golf in achieving many of the Scottish government’s Active Scotland objectives?

We must find our voice and, more importantly, work with our membership to make the compelling case for this sport’s bright future. To that end, the board and staff at Scottish Golf are working hard to focus our efforts behind three key objectives:

  • To increase participation, especially among girls and women, and youth generally.
  • To support those clubs who seek our help in developing a sustainable business model.
  • To improve our commercial performance in order to become more financially independent.

Three clear and unequivocal objectives that will enable us to fulfil our commitment to make golf accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, race or social standing. Golf has to be more accessible, to those in hard-to-reach areas and to those who will ultimately shape the game’s future.

Pic Kenny Smith, Kenny Smith Photography
Tel 07809 450119

We must be innovative, welcoming and above all responsive to society’s changing landscape. We must inspire, encourage and empower our membership to embrace the changes required to ensure a prosperous future for our game and we must engender trust to lead that journey.

What is the point of Scottish Golf? To provide a game for everyone, to inspire a nation to love golf in all its forms, and to contribute to a healthier, inclusive and aspirational Scotland.

Ultimately, we strive to be the trusted hosts in the Home of Golf, where everybody is welcome.

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


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 14, 2018 16:39
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