Merger is an “important step forward” for golf

Martin Slumbers, the Chief Executive of The R&A. Pic R&A.
Martin Slumbers, the Chief Executive of The R&A. Pic R&A.

The chief executive of The R&A says its merger with the Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU) will offer the best of both worlds to the sport.

Martin Slumbers was speaking after the two St Andrews based bodies confirmed they are to merge.

In the early part of last year it was announced a merger was being considered with a series of meetings held between the organisations and other stakeholders since then.

This week Mr Slumbers and Trish Wilson, the chairman of the LGU, said an agreement has now been reached.

For Mr Slumbers, the coming together signals an “important step forward” for golf.

He said: “The LGU and The R&A have a wealth of experience in running successful championships and we have a shared focus on supporting the development of golf.

“The merger will enable us to capitalise on the strengths of the two organisations for the wider benefit of the sport, including the development of golf for women and girls.

“This is a historic move and an important step forward for golf on these islands.

“I would like to thank the LGU Board for their commitment and enthusiasm throughout this process and their stakeholders, including Ricoh and IMG, for their tremendous support.”

The next stage in the process, say those fronting it, is to integrate the staff from both organisations and to implement an agreed governance structure.

The LGU’s championships and international matches will run as normal this year with the existing LGU team managing those events.

The business operations of the LGU will be brought into The R&A group of companies with effect from January 1 2017.

Trish Wilson, the chairman of the LGU, believes too that the merger will further advance the women’s game.

She said: “The LGU has a long and proud tradition of supporting women’s and girls’ golf.

“Funded by the lady golfers of Great Britain and Ireland, the LGU has positioned golf as a game for all women and girls.

“My gratitude is due to our shareholders for their foresight and support in this move.

“I would like to thank the chief executive of The R&A and his team, and the foresight of his predecessor, for their initiative and conviction in achieving this outcome.

“Building on the strong relationship it already enjoys with The R&A, the LGU looks forward to realising the potential of this merger.”

The R&A runs The Open, elite amateur events, international matches and rankings.

Together The R&A and the USGA govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions but sharing a commitment to a single code for the rules of golf, rules of amateur status and equipment standards.

Founded in 1893, the LGU is the encompassing body for ladies’ amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland.