Exclusive interview with Shona Malcolm - Part 2
(For part 1 of this interview, click here)
What are the challenges of holding championships at male-only clubs?
The Helen Holm is held at Royal Troon every year and we have no difficulty at all. With the British Amateur we were at Prestwick a couple of years ago and then at Royal St George’s last year and it never had a single press query or comment. I think it’s a bigger thing when the non-golfing media get a hold of it, the golfing media maybe understand it a bit better.
Is there any embarrassment from the clubs?
None that I was aware of. If you go to one of these clubs that’s perceived as old fogeys, single gender men’s clubs, with 150 of the best amateur lady golfers and they’re going round with low par scores and they’re ripping up the course it’s got to put a different perspective on how lady golfers are perceived.
So that’s how it’s influenced from the inside, but I have found, both in Scotland and in the SLGA and in general in golf, there’s often more of an issue with the way that ladies are treated at some of the mixed gender clubs.
If you go to a single-gender club they throw the doors wide open and make you very welcome and they can’t do enough for you. If you go to some of the other clubs things can be difficult. I think because in men’s clubs they aren’t used to it so it’s new and fresh and not taken for granted, it’s something that they really welcome.
They’re hosting these things because they want to host them and they’ve probably approached the governing bodies because they want to host something. Whereas you go to some of the others and you get a different attitude from some of the members. Having said that, most of them are great, I’m not saying they are all bad, but they are more of a challenge often.
Can you see there being a new Chief Executive of the LGU?
I have no idea! I think that would really be up to the board of the LGU to decide, if they think we need one then they’ll recruit the right person to meet their needs.
I’m looking forward to new challenges and I’m quite happy not to be there any longer What would you have liked to finish in the role that you didn’t get the chance?
I would have liked to have been able to pull together at some point a really good forum for discussing issues relating to ladies’ golf. We have a conference where we talk about the issues with golf and I suppose I would have really liked to have seen something of that for ladies’ golf.
Given the number of people who have come to me over the years and said we could really do with getting round the table and discussing things and our experiences. The last one who spoke to me about that was from India, she really felt very strongly that that would be the right thing to do and I suppose I would have liked to have done something like that.
How much of a surprise was it to be voted off?
Not really a surprise to me at all, I think there’s a right time to walk away from certain jobs, I think you’ve run your course when you’ve seen some changes coming along that maybe don’t fit with your skill set as maybe they have in the past. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to me. And if you were asking me ‘am I happy to be not there?’, then yeah I’m looking forward to new challenges and I’m quite happy not to be there any longer. Seven years is a long time in these kinds of jobs.
What was the most satisfying thing that you did in your seven years?
Keeping the profile of the LGU and the professional perception of it in a better place than it was before.
Since I left I have had so many messages from the professional and amateur bodies saying that I, almost single-handedly, kept the profile of the LGU high in the world of golf.
I always felt that the LGU needed to become the female equivalent of the R&A and become a focal point for women. Women’s golf is in an odd place at the minute with all the amalgamations of governing bodies and the voice of women’s golf is being diminished. That is even happening in clubs, more men are coming in than women as new members so that will diminish it further. The sad thing is that this is the 21st century and we are talking about men and women’s golf.