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News from Golf RSA

01 Aug 2016

Grant Hepburn CEO – Golf RSA

Dear Fellow Golfer
At long last, the registration of Golf RSA has been finalised. We are both relieved and excited that the organisation is now officially registered.

The delay in registration, caused mainly by administrative ‘red tape’ but also through some unforeseen challenges, has meant that many of our initiatives have been held back. This letter serves to communicate the steps that are currently underway or will occur very shortly.

Firstly, the founding general meeting of the new company occurred during June. This meeting, effectively the first annual general meeting, was held by the initial directors of the company; namely the President of WGSA, the President of SAGA and the senior Vice President of SAGA.

One of the first orders of business to be carried out after the founding meeting by the initial directors of the company will be the appointment of the independent non-executive Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, and the independent non-executive Directors to the Board of the Company.

In terms of the structure of the Board of Directors, SAGA has two directors on the board (the President and the Senior Vice President), plus four independent non-executive Director appointees. WGSA has one Director (the President) plus two independent non-executive Director appointees. In total, therefore, there will initially be nine Directors, which includes the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson (selected jointly by SAGA and WGSA).

When the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) becomes a member of Golf RSA it will have one director (the SADGA chief executive officer) plus one independent non-executive Director. In total, therefore, there will be eleven Directors on the Golf RSA Board.

The nomination and appointment of the six independent non-executive Board positions by the SAGA and WGSA will follow a simple process whereby the preferred nominees will be proposed by the office bearers of each organisation to the respective National Executive Committees, for approval by simple majority.

The independent non-executive Directors appointed to the Board are duty-bound to serve the best interests of amateur golf in this country. Collectively they form a healthy mix of influential and effective people from within the golf industry and from within the big business sector.

Golf RSA and the office bearers of the SAGA are well aware of the lack of communication on progress and development. While there have been a number of reasons and contributing factors to this situation (the reality is that everybody has been very hard at work getting things done to get us to this juncture), from this point on, proper internal and external communication is imperative.

From the start of this month, Golf RSA, supported by the SAGA office bearers, will begin interfacing with the SAGA and WGSA on the level intended operationally i.e. the CEO and staff of Golf RSA will start reporting back to each sub-committee chairperson on the current progress and status of tasks and deliverables agreed to for that sub-committee. 

By the end of August 2016 the sub-committee chairpersons and the office bearers of the SAGA and WGSA should have interfaced at least once with the CEO and staff of Golf RSA to align strategic direction and priorities, in preparation for the September biennial meetings.

Staff currently employed by the SAGA and WGSA will be absorbed into Golf RSA and these contracts are being transferred across to the newly formed company. Any additional staff members are being employed on a fixed-term contract basis, and only if their employment is economically viable for the company. Our thanks go to Charl de Villiers for his assistance with the legal and contractual aspects of existing and new contracts.

Golf RSA is the operational arm of the amateur golf bodies of South Africa. The CEO of the company shall report to the Board of Directors and the Board of Directors reports to the shareholders, being the SAGA and the WGSA. Golf RSA shall assume full commercial responsibility for the operations of amateur golf in South Africa. 

The management and the Board of Directors of the company shall be responsible for the viability and sustainability of the ongoing operations of the various initiatives in the sport, and for the company’s financial well-being. Golf RSA shall be responsible for implementing overall strategy formulated by the SAGA and WGSA, but it has the equal responsibility and opportunity to assist with the formulation of strategy and to submit proposals to the shareholders for consideration and approval.

It is envisaged that, in time, Golf RSA shall become the governing body of the sport for the country, but until that transition is completed, the office bearers of the SAGA and WGSA shall continue to fulfil those duties. There is no intention to dissolve the democratic structures of either the SAGA or the WGSA. The SAGA and WGSA shall retain responsibility for the following aspects within their respective sports federation domains:

Overall strategy approval
National team selections
Disciplinary procedures

The organisational structure for Golf RSA as an independent company is currently being formulated and this will be communicated shortly. The operations budgets for the company for the period 01 July 2016 to 31 December 2016 and for the period 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017 are currently being prepared and will be tabled when ready, probably towards the end of August 2016.

Golf RSA will naturally work closely with the provincial unions as well as with golf clubs at a level that does not conflict with the work of the provincial unions, and we are busy developing a number of initiatives in this respect.

As part of our effort to improve our communication with the golfing fraternity we will be sending a webletter to all affiliated members, featuring news from the world of golf, instruction, videos, competitions and any important communication regarding amateur golf and the handicap system. All these features will be linked back to the new umbrella Golf RSA web portal through which access to the SAGA and the WGSA websites can be attained. We expect that this webletter will become a weekly initiative, although it will start off as a monthly one. 

Golf RSA has already identified and worked with a National Squad of top men and women golfers, as well as numerous amateur tournaments for the top golfers. We are currently working on creating a series of events and tournaments for the regular club golfers and there has been some exciting progress in this regard. Once the groundwork on these projects has been completed, we will communicate these opportunities to the unions and all of the affiliated golfers.

Behind the scenes at Golf RSA, we have been working hard to establish and improve relationships with all stakeholders in South African golf, culminating in the South African Golf Awards – an annual gala dinner where the achievers of the sport, both on the course and behind the scenes, are recognised for their contribution to the game.

The synergies with organisations such as the PGA of SA, WPGA, the Sunshine Tour and the SAGDB are obvious, and we are also working together with environmental experts and organisations such as the Club Managers Association of SA to ensure that all other aspects of South African golf are catered for.

Understandably, the bulk of the work that has been undertaken or is currently being carried out is not yet visible to the national executive committee members nor to the provincial unions. It is the intention to make all of this effort visible to each member of the NEC before the start of the meetings in September 2016. It’s a long, yet essential, process but the end goal is to encourage everyone to work together for the good of the game we love.

Sincerely,
Grant Hepburn
CEO – Golf RSA

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