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England Golf

England Golf ‘left with no other choice’ as disciplinary action begins against 25 clubs

After warning those who failed to engage with SafeGolf accreditation, England Golf are taking action against clubs who have still to submit documentation
 

England Golf are to start disciplinary action against 25 clubs who have failed to engage with the governing body’s SafeGolf scheme.

Matt Draper, club, county and membership senior manager, told viewers on a webinar hosted by the Golf Club Managers’ Association, England Golf had been “left with no other choice than to start proceedings” after the clubs concerned had not submitted any evidence.

In March, NCG reported how clubs who had failed to make sufficient progress on gaining accreditation for the scheme were warned they could face being sanctioned.

SafeGolf accreditation is a mandatory term of affiliation to the governing body and was established to safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults.

In a letter to clubs, England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson wrote that “failure to provide” evidence of commitment to the scheme by March 31 could result in chiefs at Woodhall Spa “taking disciplinary action”.

Giving an update on SafeGolf this week to golf club managers in the webinar, Draper said 1,070 clubs were now fully accredited, with a further 275 who had submitted all their evidence and were awaiting a DBS check or a Time to Listen certificate.

A total of 206 other clubs had submitted more than 60 per cent of their evidence and 186 had started the process.

He said: “We have 25 golf clubs that have yet to submit anything. It is these golf clubs that, unfortunately, we are left with no other choice than to start disciplinary proceedings against them.

“They obviously still have the opportunity to engage. Our overall goal is to ensure that every golf club is accredited and that’s what we want to do.

“But, unfortunately, we’ve been left with no choice at this moment to begin those proceedings.”

County bodies, as well as clubs, must be accredited and negotiate a number of stages, including appointing a welfare officer, ensuring DBS checks are obtained for relevant club personnel, and adopting required club policies.

The scheme was first communicated to golf clubs in October 2018 and accreditation was made mandatory in December 2019. Clubs originally had a 12 month deadline to obtain that but it was extended in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked what would now happen to those clubs concerned, Draper added: “They have been issued with a Notice of Charge, or will have done so before the end of the week, which means they have 14 days to respond and to engage with us or their CSO (Club Support Officer) to get started with the accreditation.

“If they don’t by that point, an independent panel will take over the case, will review that case, with us making a case against them, and they obviously have the opportunity to respond to the independent panel as well.”

What do you think? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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