The latest in a long line of public sector funded golf initiatives is about to get off the ground apparently. Fife Council commissioned BRS to "see what the appetite would be to establish a collaborative, Fife-wide golf marketing and development organisation, the planned Fife Golf Partnership."
According to the information sent out this will be a partnership between public and private sectors, but industry led and a group in the Fife golf industry have been invited to attend "to define the role, functions, management and operations of the planned Fife Golf Partnership." and they will focus on the key question
“How can Fife maintain its premier international position and reputation as the Home of Golf?”
The meeting will be held on Wednesday 1st December 2010, at Ladybank Golf Club and if you're not one of those involved you can find the summary market research report on the Fife Tourism Partnership Web Site.
The question that automatically jumps out is a big why? Does Fife need an overarching body to develop golf tourism in the area. Is it going to replace the work done by others? Or is it going to duplicate? The fact it's taken nine months to get to the point of a first meeting must be worrying.
We're aware of the East of Scotland Golf Alliance - with a remit to create cross boundary co-operation between East Lothian, Fife, Perth and Kinross; First in Fife Golf - group of courses developing product and marketing with a range of external parties; Links With History is a partnership with four courses in Fife; Visit scotland still have a role to play in developing Fife Golf at a local level; then there's St Andrews World Class and perhaps most stirkingly Golf Tourism Scotland which put forward proposals for regional golf development groups in an integrated structure some four years ago.
The problem again is clear. The fear is that the new group is going to sit in splendid isolation in Fife having dotted line links with other bodies and little no co-ordinated strategic development.
What is needed is not another isolated golf group but the joining up of the ones we have; the creation of a logical golf tourism framework under the auspices of Golf Tourism Scotland still seems to this outsider as the most logical way forward for tourism related bodies. It is quite clearly not a role for the councils nor for the Scottish Golf Union.
What about it GTS?