In the Loop

The news you need to know from the last month in the golf industry.

1. Scottish Golf vote in favour of affiliation fee increase
What’s happened: Affiliation fees will increase from £11.25 to £14.50 from January 2019 after a resolution was passed with a majority of 60.2% following the general meeting at the Stirling Court Hotel.

What does it mean? Raising the affiliation fee has caused Scottish Golf considerable heartache over the past 18 months or so, but the passing of the revolution will bring in increased revenue of around £500,000.

That cash has been ring-fenced to support the development of “key strategic priorities” and will also offset proposed cuts announced after the funding available to Scottish Golf decreased.

Andrew McKinlay, Scottish Golf chief executive, said: “I would like to thank the membership for voting in favour of a prosperous future for the game.
“I understand the subject of the affiliation fee has been a contentious one in recent years but I have been clear on the financial challenges the game faces without the ability to invest in areas that will help facilitate long term growth.”

Eleanor Cannon, Scottish Golf, chair, added: ”We must now work together as one Scottish Golf family to make golf more accessible to younger members, to incorporate non-members into our offering, to support our clubs and to encourage our players to fulfil our potential.

“Those aims have been made all the more achievable in light of this outcome.”

2. CSI partners with England
Golf for 2020 vision What happened: Club Systems International has been recognised as a ‘preferred partner’ of England Golf as the governing body looks to prepare small clubs for the introduction of the new World Handicap System in 2020.

What does it mean? The new partnership will see grants of more than £500 available to qualifying clubs that will allow them to buy a CSI 10” PSiTouch screen.
To qualify for a grant, interested clubs will need to have fewer than 300 members, an annual revenue of less than £250,000 or will need to employ fewer than three full-time staff.

Those who meet the criteria will qualify for a grant totalling either 25, 50 or 75% of the normal PSiTouch price of £695 plus vat.

Richard Peabody, CSI’s Managing Director, said: “Our financial support of World Handicapping in England will help smaller clubs introduce this cutting edge technology, in line with their larger counterparts.”
Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s handicap and course rating manager, added: “A major part of the WHS will involve players inputting their own scores and these grants will be of great benefit to clubs which are struggling to afford a touch screen.”
3. Endless acquires American Golf
What happened: The private equity investor has taken over American Golf, safeguarding the jobs of more than 900 employees.
What does it mean? This is good news for a number of golf clubs, where American Golf have acquired their retail arms and where the company is continually looking to expand.

American Golf have 42 active retail partnerships with clubs, the first on-course store having been opened at Ashton-in-Makerfield.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and JD Sports Fashion were among the interested parties interested in acquiring American Golf, which has a turnover of around £140 million, but the clinching deal was negotiated by Endless’ Manchester partner Tom Jack and investment director Richard Harrison.

Jack said: “We believe this is a business with fantastic potential and we’re delighted to be able to protect the employment of over 900 employees as a result of this acquisition.”

By Marie J. Taylor

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