Media slammed for criticising golf consultants

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 26, 2019 10:41

The mainstream media has come under fire from a golf industry group after it mocked a council for employing consultants with golf expertise.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran was quoted as saying it was “absolutely shocking … that struggling local councils across the country are wasting so much money” and Derby council’s decision to spend £2,400 on a golf strategy was highlighted, along with other local authorities that spent £2,100 of taxpayer money spent on economic impact reports for a clown festival, £8,500 for a pantomime strategy and £5,000 to ‘develop a secondary colour palette’ for a re-brand.

However, the chairman of an association of consultants working within the golf industry has said the council should be praised for trying ‘to provide the best possible return for both its taxpayers and golfers’.

John Ashworth, chairman of Golf Business International, in which the members are all consultants to the golf sector, said: “While none of our members were involved in this particular consultation, I would imagine the information would have been crucial to Derby council’s future provision of golf courses.

“Golf courses are not cheap to maintain and municipal courses have traditionally served the needs of a particular segment of the golfing market. Where supply outstrips demand in that segment, a responsible council has a duty to review and, if necessary, to rationalise its level of provision. Understanding the balance of supply and demand for golf is a specialist skill which councils are right to buy in from outside.

“Rather than criticise the council, I think it should be praised for engaging outside expertise in order to provide the best possible return for both its tax-payers and golfers in the region.”

John Ashworth

The Local Government Association appeared to agree with Ashworth by saying that outgoings on consultants were a small part of councils’ spend, and that it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to employ staff where occasional help was needed in a specialist area.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 26, 2019 10:41
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  1. djm February 28, 13:33

    Consultant praises the ethos of consultancy…

    Colour me surprised

    Reply to this comment
  2. Martin February 22, 12:13

    2.4k for a golf strategy seems like a lot of cash for something that should have come from within the team, so I’m with the media here. Perhaps this was where the pantomime was as well……

    Reply to this comment
  3. Confucius 500BC February 21, 18:48

    There is so much money wasted on golf course consultants not aware of, or refusing to recognize, the new cultural activities of the coming generation.
    Wake up! Things change…golf also! The problem is that the game is so traditional minded, that it can’t get out of it’s own way. Learn from other successful industries and their progressive initiatives…Efficiency & Economy rule the day all brought about by the computer age! Smaller mid-sized courses, minimal maintenance with maximum enjoyment are the future of the game if you want to attract the new breed of participant.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Peter February 21, 15:56

    It’s important to not only plan for today’s business, but to plan for tomorrow and the day after. Consultants help do that by challenging what you do and looking for a better or different way. Communication blockage is often a problem in these relationships. What you’re paying for, what to expect and how long it will take. When I tell leaders, “you’ve got to know your critical numbers”, that includes paying consultants, measuring their progress and monitoring their performance. If they haven’t performed satisfactory, they deserve to be slammed !

    Reply to this comment
  5. Sam February 21, 15:09

    There is no doubt that many golf clubs across the UK could do with some outside help. I’ve seen clubs spend thousands on golf course architects and totally neglect the key fundamentals that would help them survive.

    Reply to this comment
  6. jerry February 21, 14:28

    Well said John, the supply and demand issue is a challenge in parts of the UK, with too many courses in certain areas and arguably not enough in others.

    Reply to this comment
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