Meeting with Area Executive, Ladies Counties and Representatives from the Clubs at Castle Douglas Golf Club on 13 December 2016 at 7.30 pm.
Douglas Hunter Southerness Eileen Scott Dumfriesshire Ladies
Robert Kennedy Southerness Fiona McGregor Dumfriesshire Ladies
Ian Brotherston D & C Gladys McClymont Dumfriesshire Ladies
Ian Brown New Galloway Diane Macdonald Dumfriesshire Ladies
Peter Haslam Gatehouse Pat Magill Galloway Ladies
Brian Duguid Castle Douglas & Kirkcudbrightshire
Stephen Kingston South Pam Watson South
Tony Clark South Alastair Millar South
Iain Robin South
Apologies were received from:-
Jean Forest South Jackie Duguid Castle Douglas
Robert McKnight South Jean Bryson Galloway Ladies
Graeme Sharp South Stranraer Golf Club
Stephen Kingston, South President, welcomed the representatives and explained that the meeting had been called to assist the two representatives from the Area, and two from each of the Ladies’ Counties, who had been invited to a meeting with the Chair and CEO of SGL to discuss the way forward. He stressed he wanted them to air their views, issues and concerns so that those who go to the meeting can fully represent the Clubs in South Area.
The meeting was divided into two sections so that everyone’s voice could be heard.
The following are the points raised:-
Is there a Business Plan for SGL? Any Plan appears to be changing daily.
Has there been any progress on setting up Regional Forums? Rumours are heard periodically that South Area and the Ladies Counties are to join with our counterparts in Ayrshire. Is it to be one Development Officer to each Region? How is the composition of each Region to be determined? Any decision to combine South Area and the two Ladies Counties without our explicit consent would meet with resistance given that we would be joining a larger Area with more Clubs and our smaller number of affiliated Clubs would be at a disadvantage resulting in the larger Area taking control. In addition South Area has a large geographical size and travelling times and costs from some parts to Forums and meetings will be excessive.
What role do you see Areas and Counties having?
Has the Audit Committee been formed? Who is on it?
Regarding Proxy Votes at General Meetings. Do you expect the Areas/Counties to collect them from the Clubs. How long will we have and is there a standard form to be completed?
The Board controls the vision of the business but staff the detail. How will you ensure staff is providing what Clubs want and not what staff decide to provide?
As a small Area and small Counties and in a rural geographical area does one size fit for all? If we have an issue will it be addressed? How will you ensure that rural areas are not marginalised by Clubs in Central Belt?
There has been positive constructive change in this Area. The Area Executive has met with the two Ladies Counties and agreement on combining certain activities has been agreed in principle.
This was a recurring theme throughout the evening particularly as very little information had emanated from SGL in the last 15 months. There is no transparency which reflects a dynamic and progressive organisation.
Notwithstanding some communication has improved recently. Bulletins and e-mail updates have re-started but a lot more is required. The Development Officer has been seen in the Area speaking to Club Committees.
More use of modern technology could be used to reduce travelling to meetings by the use of “Skype” or similar. The Facebook page also needs to be developed in association with the website.
The SGL used to produce a Who’s Who of staff by Department with their telephone number and e-mail address. As there have been numerous staff changes during the last year could this vital information be reproduced?
The only thing that has changed from the old SGU website had been the logo. It is still very much male dominated and does not address Ladies’ issues. A new website requires to be constructed as soon as possible.
The Fixture List 2017 was very late in being published and there is still no date for the ATC’s and Ladies County Finals. The Boys ATC had been agreed to be played at Stranraer Golf Club in June but this date has been taken over by the Boys Stephen Gallacher OOM competition and Stranraer were not informed. Southerness has also been informed it will host the Seniors Home Internationals in 2018 and despite attempts to obtain confirmation from SGL none has been forthcoming. Clubs have set aside these dates, are preparing the courses and are losing much needed income from visitors as they await a decision. As an organisation that claims to put the Clubs first this is not a good start.
The Ladies are concerned that no vouchers were presented in winning a Scottish competition, only medals. It is not cheap to enter, where does the money go? In addition several Ladies National competitions were not competed for last year. Will they be re-instated in 2017? At Club level there were no SGL brooches for Club competitions.
How do Club Members, who pay the affiliation fee, get value out of membership?
The per capita fee has been a bone of contention in all levels in Scottish golf for years. What plans do you have to sort this out? An interesting development in Clubs in this Area is that both Men and Ladies are charged the SGL per capita fee plus the per capita fee to the Men’s Area in their annual subscription. The Club then pays out the per capita fee for the men and ladies to SGL and the per capita fee for the men to the Area. The “Area” per capita fee paid by the Ladies is deposited in Club funds as membership of the Ladies Counties is voluntary. Thus the Ladies pay to the Club a higher subscription than the men. So much for equality!
If a golfer is a member of more than one Club he/she pays the per capita fee for each.
To ensure accountability to all the Members could a full set of accounts be presented at the AGM as happens in all Golf Clubs?
There is no Development Academy in South Area. The nearest one for those living in Wigtownshire and parts of Kirkcudbrightshire is Turnberry and for those in Dumfries area is Glasgow. This entails a 150 mile return trip with associated travel and accommodation costs.
5 DEVELOPMENT OFFICERS
They are invisible in our area. Craig Chalmers is only interested in the bigger Clubs and never visits smaller Clubs. He conducted a Club Forum on 30 November and promised a note on the discussions and a follow-up but nothing has materialised.
How are the recipients of awards at the Annual Dinner selected eg Volunteer of the Year? It would appear that it is awarded to a Club which is being advised by the Development Officers. Would it not be better to recognise the work the volunteers do for SGL to have an award for the Volunteer of each Area or County to whom local golfers could relate?
All meetings with SGL appear to be held in outlying areas, eg SGL AGM in St Andrews which is not the easiest place to get to. Last year’s in Stirling was much more accessible as it is served by a reasonable motorway network. Do you intend to take future AGM’s and meetings round other areas to share travelling costs for those attending?
Scottish Golf appears in disarray. There is no strategy for going forward.
Can we have a transcript of this meeting so we can discuss the issues with our respective Committees?
Will we hear what concerns the other Areas and Counties raise or will we require to rely on the grapevine?
The South President, Stephen Kingston, thanked everyone for attending and wished them a safe journey home.
The meeting closed at 8.50pm