Year in Review: Supporting Clubs through Business Planning

“A wake-up call” is how George Anderson, Vice-Captain at Scotscraig, describes the club’s engagement in business planning and a governance review in 2017. Without making such a move, he wonders where the Fife club would be now, as their outdated ways were replaced by a more modern approach to running their business.

Anderson refers to March 2016 to trace their turnaround, himself attending a business planning workshop staged by Scottish Golf in St Andrews. Quickly, he and the club embarked on changes which can be summed up in one word – ‘wholesale’.

Scotscraig hosted joint 2017 Boys & Girls Championship

In May 2016, Scotscraig then started working with Iain Evans, Scottish Golf’s Regional Club Development Officer in the area, developing the framework for a business plan which included a members’ forum, members’ questionnaire and staff insights. A group of six completed the plan and achieved approval by the Club Council at the beginning of January 2017. It was then immediately taken to the members. “It meant we changed all the committee structure, everything,” admits George.

‘Why’ is the obvious question to ask him? “It was a dated structure, both on the management and committee side,” he continues. “We ended up throwing out our total constitution and rewriting a new, more modern one. No longer did we have the recorded delivery of letters, we had emails instead, electronic voting and other areas like that.”

By August last year, the club – host to last year’s first-ever joint Scottish Boys’ and Girls’ Amateur Championships along with Drumoig – had built a completely new governance structure. When they held their AGM last October, they could ultimately take it forward officially. Overall, it was an approximate 18-month process for the entire project.

“If we hadn’t gone ahead with business planning, I think Scotscraig would have had serious concerns in the future,” George admits. “We are run as a business now. We have analysed every part of the business in depth.”

Scottish Golf works with clubs of all shapes and sizes to develop business plans. In the Lothians, for example, two capital clubs also took positive steps last year. Murrayfield adopted a new governance structure around equality given their 40% female membership. They are following this up with the development of a business plan in 2018.

Dalmahoy Hotel & County Club has also developed under new management. Fresh membership categories, achieving good publicity, have been introduced with more flexibility, including family friendly and golf-only options.

Murrayfield Golf Club, Edinburgh

Back at Scotscraig, Evans has remained an important sounding board for the club since the constitution changed. Notably, it states that the captain has to propose a business plan for the year ahead at the AGM, which then has to be approved by the members. So what are the early benefits for the club?

George says: “We have enjoyed benefits already to the extent we now have a committee structure which involves the members. We have an executive council, which is made up of six members. Below that are five executive sub-committees that do all the work. The convenor for each of the executive sub-committees is a member of the executive council.

“We have also integrated the ladies into all of the committees so that the existing ladies’ captain and ladies’ vice-captain are automatically members of the executive council. We want to go forward as a club that is working hard in getting women into the game. Our whole business now is run by convenors and volunteers.”

Our team of Regional Club Development Officers are committed to helping clubs like Scotscraig run more effectively. Business planning is one area, but additional free-to-use tools like the Scottish Golf Customer Feedback Tracker and club education workshops, of which over 400 people attended in 2017, offer other means for clubs to learn and grow.

To make the most of the support available via Scottish Golf, please contact your Regional Club Development Officer today.