About the SGU
The Scottish Golf Union (SGU) is the governing body for amateur golf in Scotland incorporating 578 golf clubs across the country representing a total membership of approximately 236,000 golf club members.
Based at the Home of Golf in St Andrews, the SGU’s responsibilities span across most aspects of the game in Scotland, from its original core business of staging national amateur championships and managing Scotland’s national teams, expanding to encouraging more youngsters to play golf, providing support services to member clubs and lobbying government to protect the interests of the game.
The game of golf is one of Scotland’s greatest assets. A national icon, thousands of golfers from across the world descend upon the Home of Golf each year to take up the challenge of some of the planet’s most famous courses and some of the game’s finest hidden gems. Golf is a vital part of Scotland’s economy and vitally important to our nation’s psyche.
The SGU’s role has grown significantly in recent years to ensure that golf clubs and golfers remain at the heart of our game so that golf in Scotland continues to flourish for centuries to come.
The SGU’s strategy is focused upon four key goals:
• Growing the Game
Growing the Game
Our aim is to grow the game from grass roots level, increasing the number of participants playing golf, encouraging club membership and making the game more accessible to all. A key component of this strategy is clubgolf, our national junior golf programme for Scotland.
Our aim is to give every player the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We have established a world class coaching and development programme from which we aim to meet this goal. Our ‘Pathways’ programme is now in place, working with golfers from entry level to the high performance end of the game.
Our aim is to provide a range of support services to clubs across all aspects of the business of golf to ensure a healthy and sustainable golf club environment in Scotland. The market place has changed significantly in recent years and the services the SGU now provides have evolved to keep pace with this transition.
Our aim is to build and develop long term partnerships which will benefit the game in Scotland. From sponsors and commercial partners to government agencies, the media and other golf industry organisations, each of our partnerships are created with the above goals in mind.
The SGU is made up of 16 shareholders, our Area Associations. Each affiliated golf club in Scotland is a member of their respective Area Association, who are represented on the SGU’s Council. The Areas stage championships and matches as well as develop talented players on a regional basis across Scotland (more details in another section).
The Scottish Golf Union Limited (SGUL) Board was established in 2002 as part of the SGU’s modernisation process. The Board comprises of 11 directors, including the Chairman and Chief Executive. All directors with the exception of the Chief Executive are non-executive. The directors include the SGU President and Vice-Presidents, whilst the other directors each have a area of specific responsibility. They are selected as directors based on their skill set and experience relative to fulfilling these specific roles in Performance, Development, Handicapping and Course Rating, Marketing and Business, Finance and Championships (list of Board members and profile in another section).
The SGU is a not for profit organisation, investing all of its revenues back into the game of golf in Scotland. Member subscriptions comprise 41% of the SGU’s income, with member clubs paying a per capita subscription of £10.30 per adult male in membership for the 2012 season. Additional revenues are generated through sponsorship, commercial activity, government funding and other external grants (for full details see SGU Accounts).
There are approximately 236,000 members of golf clubs in Scotland, of which over 219,000 are playing, equating to more golfers per head of population than almost any other country in the world. Membership can be broken down as follows:
• 167,500 adult males; 27,476 adult females • 21,543 junior boys; 2,777 junior girls
The number of golf courses in Scotland has increased by almost 20% over the past 20 years, whilst adult male membership has grown by circa 5% in the same period. The result of this increase in supply outstripping the increase in demand means increased capacity in golf clubs, arguably making golf in Scotland more accessible than ever before.
The Scottish Golf Union was first established in 1920 by Lord Anderson as an association of member clubs and two years later, the first ever Scottish Amateur Championship was staged at the Old Course, St Andrews. The Union has undergone many changes in its 93-year history and like many sports governing bodies, is a far cry from its humble origins. Now employing more than 30 staff, the SGU is one of Scotland’s foremost and respected sports organisations with a vastly expanded responsibility for governance of the game.
Many great players have come through the ranks of the Scottish Golf Union, either by being part of the national team or winning our national championships. From the great career amateurs like Ronnie Shade and Charlie Green to successful Ryder Cup players such as Colin Montgomerie and Bernard Gallacher to the new breed of full-time amateurs turned pros like Richie Ramsay and George Murray, both now on the European Tour.
Scottish golf is steeped in history and the SGU is proud to have played some part in that journey with an exciting future ahead of us as we look forward to more youngsters playing the game, a healthier club environment and the development of more role models at top amateur and professional level.