‘Busiest six months ever’ for golf club legal advisor

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 14, 2020 06:57

A national legal advisor to golf clubs says it has worked with a record number of venues since the pandemic started.

The National Golf Clubs Advisory Association (NGCAA), which has a monthly column in The Golf Business, says its experience of demand in recent months mirrors that of most UK golf clubs, which has seen a huge growth in numbers of rounds played.

The national body, which offers unlimited legal advice to its members, has given assistance on a wide range of issues since the lockdown started. This has included helping member clubs navigate the furlough scheme and redundancies, how to conduct AGMs, giving advice around club PGA professional agreements and dealing with membership fee enquiries.

Visits to the NGCAA website was up by more than 200 percent during March and April compared to those months in 2019, and during the six month period of January to June, the NGCAA handled more enquiries than in the whole of 2017, as golf clubs found themselves in urgent need of legal support.

Alistair Smith

Alistair Smith, NGCAA chief executive and an employment law specialist, said: “It’s certainly been a testing time for our members over the past few months. Covid-19 has hit everyone very hard, and golf clubs are no exception. As clubs went into lockdown, there was a great deal of uncertainty, many were in survival mode and desperately needed our help, support and also just some peace of mind.

“Our team of specialist legal advisors were well prepared and on hand to answer phone and email queries, giving members quick turnaround times on dealing with the legal issues faced throughout this pandemic.

“From document drafting and review assistance to offering access to our comprehensive online library of templates and briefing notes, we have been able to provide support for managers, committees and owners.”

Alistair said the past six months has been the busiest period on record for the NGCAA as golf clubs used their annual memberships to seek unlimited qualified legal advice.

He said: “For just £320 plus VAT, our members have access to an independent, non-biased and comprehensive advice service that they could use as many times as they wanted. In the process, they have made significant savings compared to the services offered from many solicitors or HR companies.”

Alistair went on to warn that clubs are not out of the woods yet and he expects enquiries to remain high over next 12 months.

He said: “Golf clubs were among the first sports clubs to return from lockdown and it’s been possible to play golf in a relatively normal way whilst respecting social distancing etiquette. However, there are still challenges ahead: loss of income – especially from services such as drinks and catering – will continue to hit hard.

“However, with the right support, there is no reason why clubs won’t be able to navigate through the next 12 months. We will continue to be here – with genuinely unlimited legal advice – for all of our members, no matter what’s on the horizon.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 14, 2020 06:57
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