Scottish golf clubs will benefit to the tune of £685,000 from the R&A’s Covid-19 emergency fund, to be distributed by Scottish Golf in two packages.
Clubs can apply for a maximum of £5500 from the funds released by the R&A, aimed at changes to facilities required to deal with the pandemic and a larger sum to help boost club business after the lockdown.
Scottish Golf said at the weekend that the restart of golf in Scotland earlier this month in Phase One of the Scottish Government’s pathway out of lockdown had resulted in increased membership applications across the board and an arrest in the decline in membership of golf clubs that has been suffered in the sport for nearly two decades.
However many clubs are still struggling with the financial impact of the three-month shutdown in what was prime playing season, and the lack of visitor traffic, especially from tourists, is likely to have a huge effect on revenues.
The two part package from the R&A will feature a Club Relief Fund, with a total of £400,000 earmarked for those clubs directly impacted by the pandemic. Clubs can apply for a sum up to a maximum of £5000 through Scottish Golf.
“This fund is concentrated on enabling clubs to reinstate or to increase expenditure in key areas to either improve their member experience or boost income generation potential,” said a Scottish Golf spokesman.
“The long-term impact of COVID-19 on the golfing landscape is still unknown, but this fund is aimed at helping clubs take the first steps to recovery and look to thrive again in the future.”
Clubs applying to this fund will complete a four-stage application before funds are allocated, showing where they will target the award and they impact they envisage it having. A commitment to growing the game will also form part of the application.
A further £285,000 is earmarked for the Covid-19 Fixed Costs Grant, with up to a maximum of £500 per club available to help with costs “specifically associated with preparing for safe play and club/course management following the COVID-19 lockdown in early March 2020.”
This could mean purchase of sanitation products, new fixtures to ensure social distancing, or costs related to training of staff.
Any remaining monies left over after the application process for the Fixed Costs Grant is completed will be re-directed into the Club Relief Fund.
Applications are available from Scottish Golf’s website and applications will close on July 24.
“Whilst the provision of this funding from The R&A is most welcome, we do anticipate the volume of applications to be high and the criteria outlined will be strictly applied to ensure that the funds available are distributed where most needed,” added the Scottish golf spokesman.
“We continue to explore other funding options for clubs to access and will communicate any additional opportunities should these arise.”