I’m sure, like me, you are starting to look forward to warmer weather, light nights and the golf season getting started for real.  12 holes over soggy, windy courses in cold weather are just not cutting the mustard anymore!  I thought I would take an opportunity to let you know a bit about what’s going on in Midlothian County golf.

I have used bold headings to allow you to go to the bits of most interest to you!

Scottish AGM: I know for many of you this will seem like a remote event and Scottish Golf a distant body but their actions do affect us – sometimes to our benefit sometimes it seems not.  I must admit I have not been a fan of Eleanor Cannon and her Board, especially when they were trying to force us into amalgamation with the Lothians.  I just couldn’t see how two bodies with such different boundaries could become one.  I mean, how could we amalgamate with East Lothian as they are our competitors for qualification to the Scottish County Finals.  I’m pleased to say this has move has been taken off the table and we can now concentrate on working with other Counties to achieve a positive structure of competitions, etc for women golfers.  We will continue to work with Lothians Area (men) to have joint ventures for juniors, course rating and even mixed or joint competitions if we think there is a place for them.

AGM Motions: Most of the items were routine dealing with grammatical changes to the Memorandum and Articles but there were two controversial motions

a. to place the CEO on the Board

b. to increase the affiliation fee from £11.25 to £15.00.

I circulated the Reps prior to the meeting and was given support for each – hopefully many of you will have been able to contribute to that discussion.  I also phoned Eleanor Cannon, Chair of Scottish Golf, and expressed our concerns namely

a.  30% is a large increase and if not too much it certainly should carry an assurance of no further increase in the near future.  (That will probably be impossible for Scottish Golf to give in this cash-strapped situation.)
b.  It would be helpful if Scottish Golf would provide more detailed accounts outlining how they propose saving money in light of the decrease in funding from sportScotland and how the increased revenue from the affiliation fee would be used.
c.   Most MCLGA members feel it is unfair that we are asked to pay multiple affiliation fees according to the number of clubs we belong to.
 We had a very good conversation – open and frank.  Eleanor’s responses were as follows
a.  if they have to ask for another increase next year they will have failed!  No one could give such a promise – just think about your golf club.
b,  to cut costs SG would have to lose staff, reduce coaching and events over the next three years, stop offering services and pare down to essentials.  I am attending a meeting at Broomieknowe on Thursday where Scottish Golf are leading discussions on how  we might better structure the management of our club and I think that may be the sort of service that would disappear.  At one point she said to me ‘a big price against a rise of £3.50’  I did point out that for many of us it was twice or three times that price which led us neatly into c!
c.  it is the intention of the board that in 2019 there will be one affiliation fee for all, club members and nomadic golfers.  They are hoping to build ‘a community for all golfers including nomads’
In my opinion point ‘c’ has long been wrong and should be changed to a single payment.  However I also think that a way must be found to have  a contribution towards Scottish Golf by nomadic golfers – whether they are not members of clubs or visitors.  In light of their current financial situation, I was prepared to give them a year to solve this problem.
It was really disappointing that the motion was not carried leaving Scottish Golf in a massive hole.  There is an interesting article in Tuesday 13th’s Scotsman for those of you interested in reading more.   Comments in the article referring to sexual discrimination towards Eleanor Cannon are equally disappointing if not surprising.  I intend staying in communication with her and will give you any further news as appropriate.

Registration:  this year the final date was put back until 31 March  to allow for the installation of a new web site so I hope you have taken advantage of an easier way to join, pay fees and enter competitions.  Next year we will probably revert to the original date of the end of January – some ladies like to have the dates of Greensome and 5 a side matches in their diaries early.  You will be given plenty of notification.

Competitions:  I know Lisa has been working hard on the Hole ‘n Hole and Foursomes – what a great idea to post the entries prior to making the draw.  I’m keen to know who I’ll be playing.  Please make sure you have your entries in for the Meetings in plenty time – the first one is at Baberton GC on 23rd April.  Remember its also the qualifier for the B Championship on 28th & 29th April at Deer Park.  Keep your diary free!

5 -a -sides: Murrayfield GC have proposed a change to the current format for the 5-a-side leagues that your Rep will have circulated to promote discussion within your club’s Midlothian members.    I have extended the date for returns to ensure all members, particularly those representing their clubs in the competition,  have a chance to share their views with each other before coming to a club decision.  Lisa recently circulated members’ details to facilitate communication between you and your Rep – it would help even more if you make your Rep aware that you are in Midlothian.

Squad:  our training programme is being affected by the weather – the match against Borders was cancelled and this coming Saturday’s training session at Kingsfield is postponed.  Kingsfield has been badly affected by the snow and still recovering.  For those of you who haven’t been to Kingsfield at Linlithgow, I would highly recommend its practice areas particularly for putting and short game.

This Sunday we are playing the Scottish Vets at Turnhouse.  Playing for MCLGA are Karen Marshall, Rachael Livingstone, Caroline Steedman, Louise Fraser, Kate Rorke, Gabrielle MacDonald, Wendy Nicholson with Debbie Hay-Smith making a guest appearance.  Jennifer Bryans is joining the Vets squad by special request.

Juniors:  their programme is well underway.  Sarah Ledingham is requesting entries now for their Spring Meeting and outing to North Berwick Children’s course.

The monthly 9 hole competition is on at the wee Swanston Course this coming Sunday.  Please encourage any young girl you know who is interested – its a great way to play with other girls no matter what their handicap.  All welcome – contact Sue Cowie if you or someone you know wants to play.

Have a warm, dry (on the course) season.  Please contact me about any issues you have with Midlothian – we are always trying to make this association all it can be.

Enjoy and successful golfing.


Captain’s Message