Golf clubs in Kent have today voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Unification of Kent Golf Union Limited and Kent County Ladies’ Golf Association joining under the banner of Kent Golf Limited. Unification was originally planned to take place in March of this year. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed at the time, it was decided to defer.
Today, at two separate Annual General Meetings held virtually, the necessary resolutions were duly passed to adopt a new constitution and the name Kent Golf Limited.
Kent Golf Limited will be run by a Board of Directors of both genders reflecting a requirement of a minimum 30 per cent of either gender. The first Board comprises Peter Long (Chair), Paul Cannons (Captain), Danny Curtis, Joanna Dennis, Chris Lohan (President), Tita McCart (Captain), Jim Pocknell (President), Cheryl Power, Mark Ward and John Young,
Kent is, amongst the larger counties, leading the way in unifying and envisages a number of benefits including streamlining the administration and the production and implementation of a coordinated plan for golf and player development in the County. Importantly, there will be one organisation representing golf clubs in Kent and their members at both county and national level.
Peter Long, Chairman of KGU, clearly delighted by the result, said ‘This is a fantastic outcome following many months of hard work by the Unification Working Group and its predecessors. We have demonstrated we can work well together in a friendly, co-operative and efficient manner. Exciting times lay ahead with our biggest challenge being to encourage more women, men and juniors to take up and then continue to play golf’.
Cheryl Power, outgoing KCLGA Captain, added ‘Many countywide activities are already undertaken jointly, for example, Safeguarding, Course Rating, Refereeing, Junior Recruitment and Competitions etc., and now, with Unification, we can look forward to having a greater perception of what our Kent members need and want, resulting we hope, in increased participation in County competitions and events with accessibility for golfers of all levels and abilities’.
Kent Golf Union Limited has been invited to reestablish talks with the Kent County Ladies Golf Association to explore the benefits and mechanics of becoming one body. The first of what, it is hoped, will be regular meetings will be held in April 2019. The function of Kent Golf Partnership is already in the process of being absorbed into Kent Golf Union.
As Clubs may be aware, many current activities are now run jointly with the Ladies, such as Safeguarding, Course Rating and Refereeing.
These notes remain relevant as the intent is that matters agreed in previous discussions would not be reopened.
Merger Meeting Minutes - 20th October 2016
5 August 2015 - Following the merger group meeting on 30.7.2015, it was agreed that both the Men and the Ladies should work towards one Affiliation Fee i.e. pay the same County Affiliation Fee should the merger go ahead.
Merger Meeting Notes – 24 March 2015, Bearsted Golf Club
Attendees: John Young, Jim Pocknell, Paul Loman
Ingrid Long, Anne Billings, Sarah Brooks
Again discussed – it is imperative that both the Men and Women understand where their AF paid is being spent and they be made aware of the County function. Should the merger take place, there (may well) be a need for an increased/centralised Secretariat and the cost of this will need to borne by the County and as one of the main sources of income (County Card being the other) the AF (may well) need to be raised and it is important that all our members understand why. It was agreed that Mark Ward (KGU Treasurer) and Nicki McGee (KCLGA Treasurer) need to meet and begin to discuss proposed budgets based on their current 2015 figures.
Much discussion ensued. Real two way pull, with the outcome being a sense that two Presidents – one male, one female, be the most appropriate option. Many reasons suggested as to this – geography of the county, number of events on both men and women’s annual golfing calendar, as well as the idea that members may feel strongly about losing their heritage should there be only one President and thus the merger not in their best interests. Term of office suggested as three years, both Presidents invited to Board Meetings (ie co-opted) however, with no voting rights but between them encouraged to discuss and ascertain which County events they would attend. This list would be compiled in the County office by the Secretary.
Again, a much discussed point. There is a clear difference between the current ‘figurehead’ role by the current KGU Captain and the very much ‘hands on’ role by the current KCLGA Captain – this difference most apparent by the paid KGU Secretariat who performs the administrative function of the KGU Captain, compared to the volunteer roles within the KCLGA. It was agreed that should the merger go ahead, the Secretariat function would include the administration role of the Captaincy, thus affording both Captain’s the opportunity to ‘run the County’. Term of office to be aligned – 3 years suggested with the Vice Captain’s term of office beginning during the third year of each Captaincy. Managing the term of office, ie ensuring the continuity of experience, was highlighted as something that would require special attention.
The administration of a merged body is key to the daily function of county golf. Situation of the County office and staffing levels will require further discussion, but until a projection of budget is established – it is unrealistic to guess at staffing levels.
Matches/Fixtures account for a very large element of the day to day running of county golf for both the men and women. However, a clear distinction exists - the men’s competitions are predominantly qualifying events with the paid secretariat in attendance; the women’s whilst run on the day to a similar level, do have much more of a social level by virtue of the members events extending to one qualifier open to all with many team events which include a Team Rumble and a Texas Scramble. Currently KGU Secretary organises all County matches and competitions and is present at all home matches alongside volunteers to ensure the smooth running of the day, whereas KCLGA only have volunteers running their different events.
Minutes of Meeting dated 30 October 2019