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Interesting guest post - loss of club memberships
Forum > General golf topics
|Interesting guest post - loss of club memberships|
Handicap : 21.6
Posted : Tue 28th Aug 2012 20:46
According to the 'Golf Participation in Europe 2011' survey by KPMG, the number of registered golfers across Europe is down for the first time in over 20 years. The UK & Ireland was hit considerably, with a net loss of registered golfers down by -3.1%.
Handicap : 21
Reply : Tue 28th Aug 2012 21:06
It will get worse as us older players die off. There are far too many other attractions for the young of today.
Handicap : 19
Reply : Wed 29th Aug 2012 00:17
This is an interesting article, but the author falls into the usual trap of blaming the tradition of golf clubs for the decline in membership and uses these figures to advocate change. The article itself proves that the problem is far more complex. It clearly states that the number of registered golfers across Europe is down and yet the author uses the less traditional approach at clubs in France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as an example of how we should run our clubs. When I did geography at school, all these countries were in Europe. As for food and beverage prices, in my experience the quality and price of food and drink at a golf club is far superior to most other establishments pro rata to cost. The simple fact is that most businesses are down in turnover. Period. The golf industry is still adjusting after a huge boom in the 80's and 90's, when building a golf course was like mining for gold. I am all for bringing club membership into the 21st century with flexible membership options and providing members with real value for money, but we should maintain standards. I think you will find that most golfers who pay to join a club actually want standards maintained.
Handicap : 14.1
Reply : Wed 29th Aug 2012 07:21
I think its a tricky one to put any numbers on. I would agree that when my father's generation started playing they had waiting lists at golf clubs, requirements to become social members before they could join etc. From what I hear to play regular golf in these days you were pretty much required to be a member of a club. Now the same clubs are crying out for members. However, due to the increase in the number of clubs and the ability to book tee times online etc means that club membership for a lot of people is not viable. If you just want to play your mates in a swindle every 2 weeks you would save money by not joining a club, and have no trouble getting a tee time at a local club when you did want to play. So I'd suggest that although club memberships are down, there are no less (and possibly are more) people actually playing golf. Clearly members are what clubs strive for due to guaranteed forward income, and I agree that relaxing certain "old fashioned" aspects could be the way forward, that said this always seems to then revert to dress codes, which I don't see as the issue when most clubs accept a polo shirt and pair of tailored shorts, surely that's not too much to ask anyone to abide by. I'd agree with Adrian that they need to bring in more flexible membership options so that everyone can feel they are getting value for money no matter how much they play.
Handicap : 8
Reply : Wed 29th Aug 2012 08:52
In reply to Matt's comment above, I think that dress code is a limited factor these days, most people who play at more than a pitch and putt have no issue with suitable clothing. I think one issue is the attitude of members, for example I have played at a decent stadard at plenty of clubs over my time, some feel welcoming, others don't.
One I use frequently (because a great deal i get) has terrible member attitude. It is renowned as having an elderly membership. I appreciate there are rules in club houses. One day I forgot to take my hat off when i went into the bar. At most clubs I would expect a polite request, such as, "Excuse me, we don't allow hats in the bar", on this occaision I recieved a shout across the bar of "Take your hat off in here", on another occaision a member I was playing with told me his guest was sitting with him at in the bar when a member who didn't know them came up and just took the hat off the huests head plonked it on the table and walked off (I know the member should have reminded his guest himself!!).
On another occaision two friends of mine were playing and you play off the first and tenth at different periods depending on the size of your group. They were watched teeing off by a four ball, played the first, went to the second tee, where one of the four ball came up and told them they were on the wrong tee and to go to the tenth, there was no-one in front of them and they were not going to be holding up the four ball.
The way in which things are said by members directly impacts on whether or not people want to join and therefore potentially the future of the club.
|Last edit : Wed 29th Aug 2012 08:53|
Handicap : 2
Reply : Wed 29th Aug 2012 11:42
What is a 'registered golfer'?
Today you have to play a set number of times to be a "active" golfer, so hold a CONGU "active handicap". If they take this as their base, then numbers will be down, because many Clubs have members who play almost every day, yet don't play in Comps so have an "inactive Hcp".
Handicap : 10
Reply : Wed 29th Aug 2012 16:35
David, I'm guessing but I wouuld think it is based on the number of golfers registered with the various home unions each year. If this is the case then it wouldn't matter if they were active, inactive or without a handicap altogether.
Reply : Wed 29th Aug 2012 19:36
How many is many?
Around here, there aren't many who don't make the effort to remain "active".
Handicap : 5.4
Reply : Thu 30th Aug 2012 08:15
An average drop of 3.1% in membership is too much of a generalisation. Some clubs have lost far more than 3.1% whilst others, like my club, are booming. We're full, are considering a waiting list and a joining fee. Our visitor numbers are up almost 80% in the last 5 yrs.
We haven't had to do different membership options or move away from the traditional model for golf clubs. Produce a quality product at the right price and the business is still there to be had.
Handicap : 10.6
Reply : Tue 4th Sep 2012 15:09
My club has reduced fees dramatically for people under 30, which has had 2 effects. Firstly, any younger gentlemen with time and money (given the current economic plight, surely this reason can't be overlooked for declining memberships) on their hands close to the area seem to have taken golf up. On the flip side, the more 'established' members who are still paying full whack due to their DOB feel like they are getting the short end of the bargain. We have also introduced monthly pay for 6 months of the year, so it's far easier for someone to afford a membership now regardless of age. I personally think this is always going to be the case, with so many online tee times and courses opening up to visitors as they seek to keep afloat. All depends on location and standard of club.
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