While the governing body say it is a matter for independent software providers how they "incorporate expenses into their business model", they're disappointed some are passing on a service charge levied to access the WHS platform England Golf have expressed “disappointment” after saying a licence fee charged to access the World Handicap System platform is being passed on to golf clubs by some software providers. In an update letter on WHS to affiliated clubs, the governing body questioned the “business move” and asked those with a “genuine financial challenge” in meeting the payment to get in touch. Independent software vendors (ISVs) signed WHS licences last July to gain access and connect with the new platform for the global system. Eleven were handed out, including to two of the biggest players in the market, Club Systems and intelligentgolf. They agreed to pay England Golf, who are the single authority for handicapping in England, an annual service charge. It is not a new process, with a fee having also applied when CONGU operated the handicap system throughout Great Britain & Ireland. But England Golf say ISVs are no longer required to carry out handicap calculations, with those being done centrally by the governing body’s WHS platform. The fee charged is £74.50, plus VAT, every six months for each golf club to which an ISV provides handicap software. “The ISV service charge covers the full cost of all maintenance and ongoing enhancement of the WHS platform and My England Golf app to effectively support golfers and golf clubs,” the letter says. It adds: “Also note that The R&A financed all development costs of the WHS platform without any charge being passed to any golf club or club member. “For clarity, it is not an individual charge to golf clubs from England Golf. That is why it formed part of the licence agreement between England Golf and ISVs. “Furthermore, we have not instructed ISVs to pass on and collect this fee from clubs on our behalf. As with the CONGU service charge, it is a matter for ISVs how they incorporate these expenses into their business model. “However, we are aware that some ISVs have now made the business decision to include this service charge in their invoices to golf clubs and we are disappointed that a licence holder would choose to pass the full burden of their responsibility for payment to golf clubs. “Should any golf club that has been presented with this scenario and has had a genuine financial challenge in meeting the payment for 2020 (£74.50 during an unprecedented pandemic year), then we would ask you to contact us at [email protected] to discuss the matter further.” Richard Peabody, managing director of Club Systems, said: "Club Systems have an established business model, which has for many years dealt with the gradual increase in our overheads and other costs. "It is an inevitable consequence in any business, that an increase in unavoidable charges, taxes, or fees will be passed on directly to the customer. CSI...
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