Gender-specific unions hope to merge
A pathway has been set up to amalgamate the body that runs men’s amateur golf in Scotland with the organisation that runs ladies’ amateur golf.
For over 90 years male and female golfers in Scotland have belonged to different associations, which, in recent years, has led to accusations of sexism. As a result, last year, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), formed in 1920, almost merged with the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA), established in 1904, when 89 per cent of the SGU’s nearly 300 affiliated clubs voted for amalgamation, as did 93 per cent of the SLGA’s shareholders. But 10 of the SGU’s 16 ‘area associations’ voted against the formation of a single governing body for amateur golf in Scotland, and the proposal was thrown out.
A few months later, the English Golf Union, which represented men’s amateur golf in England, and the English Women’s Golf Association, voted in favour of a merger, which was heralded around the world as ‘golf’s significant stride towards shaking off its misogynistic image’. The move also unlocked government funding that would otherwise have been denied if the two organisations had remained as gender-specific bodies.
With England Golf having been in operation for almost a year now, the SGU and SLGA have agreed to re-establish a joint group, to be chaired by Alastair Thornton, past president of the Law Society of Scotland, which will develop a new amalgamation proposal.
A spokesman said: “Substantive discussions on the formation of a single governing body for amateur golf in Scotland can now resume in a positive atmosphere.”
The SGU chairman, Tom Craig, said: “The SGU, in partnership with the SLGA, is committed to working towards a unified body in the home of golf.
“There is a great deal of common ground, and both bodies are ready to recommence detailed consideration. Alastair Thornton’s credentials are impressive and we look forward to working with him.”
Shona Malcolm, SLGA chairman, added: “We are confident that our discussions, as a joint group, will enable us to progress this already lengthy amalgamation process to a conclusion which is in the best interests of Scottish amateur golf.”