New Zealand Golf and the PGA of New Zealand have all but completed a ground-breaking merger.
Golf's national organisation and the representative body of professional players have signed a heads of agreement document - confirming they are moving ahead with merged governance of Kiwi golf.
Around the world, national golf body's and their PGA's work independently. But as Fairfax Media first revealed in March limited resources, declining memberships and financial concerns at many clubs have triggered a re-think in this country.
The entities have been discussing the concept behind closed doors since June 2011.
An establishment committee will now be set-up with representation from NZ Golf and the PGA, with a further independent member to be appointed the chairperson.
The parties also plan an early release of their joint strategic plan, triggering activities to grow the game and address specific challenges.
Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf CEO, described the agreement as a "landmark moment for the game of golf in New Zealand."
"This is a very significant achievement in the administrations of New Zealand Golf and the PGA of New Zealand," Murphy said.
"The proposed merger with the PGA of New Zealand has been some time in the making, with some hard work from both parties.
"We believe this alignment of our organisations and their capabilities would have a very positive impact on both creating a secure future for the game here in New Zealand, in our clubs and communities, and would also increase our ability to compete on the international stage.
"We both know that we are operating in a challenging time for golf and we are looking to meet those challenges head on. It makes great sense to combine our capabilities and develop a unified approach where a 'whole of golf' vision for the game is being achieved."
Duncan Simpson, PGA of New Zealand CEO, echoed said the way in which golf's resource issues need to be tackled are "obvious".
"When we reviewed the PGA's strategic plan over two years ago it became clear that the key issues and challenges were all about the game of golf," Simpson said.
"It was obvious that these needed to be tackled under a combined strategy and vision and this was the initial thrust of our discussions with New Zealand Golf and the resulting Memorandum of Understanding."
The parties have agreed that the key challenges facing the sport in New Zealand are aging and declining membership statistics, low junior memberships, widespread financial concerns at club level and a lack of alignment within the sport.
A formal process is now underway covering due diligence, structural and constitutional issues, membership input and approval, and the composition of a Transition Board leading to a final governance structure for the combined entity.
- © Fairfax NZ News