The R&A has appointed Russell Smith as the General Manager of its new community golf facility at Lethamhill in Glasgow.
Smith brings a wealth of experience and commercial acumen to the role having held a number of senior positions in sport, including football, international rugby and horseracing, and the staging of world-class cultural events.
He has assumed operational responsibilities for the development and day-to-day running of the new facility and implementation of its business plan, which will include the launch of a new consumer brand next year ahead of the family-focussed venue opening in the spring of 2023.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “Russell is joining us at an important time as our development of the new facility in Glasgow gathers momentum. He will play a key role in overseeing the construction of the venue at Lethamhill alongside our contractors and ensuring our business plan delivers on its objectives.
“His previous experience and achievements in sport and venue management makes him well placed to take on this important project for the organisation which will create a popular and welcoming destination for golf for people living locally in the city.”
Russell Smith, said, “I am excited about starting this new role with The R&A and look forward to playing a part in the creation of the new community facility at Lethamhill.
“Our goal is to create a venue that is attractive, affordable and accessible for families and so I will be working closely with our partners and contractors to bring our plans to life as we continue with the development of the facility, as well as meeting with local groups to build positive relationships and keep them informed of our progress.”
The R&A has secured approval to redevelop the golf course at Lethamhill in Glasgow, to create a brand new community golf facility 🏌️♂️🏌️♀️— The R&A (@RandA) August 10, 2021
The facility will be designed for everyone, regardless of age or ability and will look to open in summer 2023 ⛳️👉 https://t.co/PYFrD8AQYr pic.twitter.com/Gn3YKYgnty
Smith spent the early part of his career working in commercial roles with Scottish Rugby and Hibernian Football Club in Edinburgh, as well as two years at the Homeless World Cup where he was successful in bidding for the event to be staged in Glasgow in 2016.
He then spent four years at Arena Racing Company where he was General Manager at Newcastle Racecourse and Executive Director at the racecourses of Bath and Doncaster, where his teams won RCA industry awards for staging successful events and marketing campaigns.
At Doncaster, he was instrumental in achieving year on year increases in attendances thanks to initiatives that broadened the appeal of the sport and attracted new audiences to attend events, including live music and family-focussed activities.
He joins The R&A from world-renowned The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, where he was Head of Commercial and responsible for marketing and ticketing strategy, commercial partnerships, retail and the management of relationships with government, local authorities and business leaders in the city.