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20 Reasons Why People Don't Join Golf Clubs

By: | Thu 07 Jun 2018 | Comments

WE ARE constantly hearing that more and more golf clubs are closing down and that membership is falling. It has been all too easy to blame the state of the economy, but we believe that there are plenty of reasons why people are deciding not to join golf clubs and very few of them have anything to do with either the economy or the cost. Here, for your delectation, we provide 20 possible reasons...

Alternatively, 20 Reasons to Join a Golf Club...


There are now several online booking sites that offer you the chance to play all sorts of courses for bargain prices. We all love a deal. Why would you want to join a club when you can go online and book a four ball at a decent local course for the price of a couple of pints of beer?


Many people only play a handful of rounds a year. They want to go out and have fun with their mates, and may feel that joining a golf club is not the ideal way to do that.


It is a slow game. It is especially slow when people are playing in competitions. Casual golfers are not going to relish the prospect of rounds of golf that take up to five hours to complete, where every shot counts, where you have to trapeze back to the tee when you realise that you have lost the ball in the knee-high rough.


If you join a golf club you will probably feel obliged to enter competitions. Not everybody enjoys competitive play. A lot of golfers just want to play and pick up the ball if they get into trouble. Do you really want to enter a medal and end up putting in a no return?


Many clubs are beginning to learn that men and women in the 18-30 bracket don’t have huge amounts of spare cash, and have woken up to the fact that they need to offer reduced fees to people in this age group. Sadly, just as many clubs have not. Those that offer flexible memberships are more likely to continue to thrive.


It is a selfish game. If you join a club and play regularly, the chances are that you are going to want to get your money’s worth - and that means leaving young families for five or six hours at a time. Many people simply can’t afford the time commitment.


Not everybody wants to join a golf club and be told what they have to wear or, more accurately, be told what they must not wear. If you play your golf at a municipal course, the chances are that you will be able to wear more or less what you like. It’s time the dress code was relaxed anyway. This is 2018!


The rules of the game are complicated enough. And that’s without taking into account those that will be imposed upon you when you join a club. There will be endless do’s and don’ts. There will be times when you can’t get on your own course. There will be the dress code in the bar. There will be the minimum number of competitions you must enter to preserve your handicap. On and on it goes...


If you join a club that is anywhere near water, there is a very good chance that you will spend much of the winter having to carry your clubs as the course will impose a trolley ban. It’s not a lot of fun when you pass 50 years of age.


Who wants to play a fortune in annual subscriptions and then find that they have to putt on winter greens for three or four months of the year?


Many golf clubs still insist upon “interviewing”potential members. Explaining basic etiquette to a comparative novice is one thing, making potential members feel intimated at the prospect of sitting in front of three or four elderly gentlemen wearing suits, shirts and ties is something else again. Lots of people just don’t want to put themselves through that. We can’t think why that would be!


Many people don’t join golf clubs because they have heard horror stories about how unwelcoming they can be, how stuck in the past they are.


Golf is a social game - or at least it is supposed to be. People steer clear of joining clubs if they don’t know any members because they don’t know how they will be received. Don’t get us wrong - there are plenty of clubs where new members are made to feel welcome, where somebody will be appointed to show them the ropes and introduce them to potential playing partners. Those are the good guys. There are still plenty who couldn’t care less about whether or not a new member is made to feel welcome.


There is a perception - and not altogether false - that golf club committees consist of what can be referred to as the "gin and tonic" brigade. Clubs that have a younger and more diverse range of committee members are to be celebrated, but the more traditional groups are a discouraging factor for many potential new members, who may wish to shift from those more archaic attitudes towards rules and how a club and its competitions should be run.


Oh dear, the clubhouse. Will it be open? Will you get a cheery “Hello” from the steward? Will there be anybody in there that you know? Is Colonel Fotheringaye-Smythe in the corner with his Daily Telegraph dead or alive? 


While it is true that many golf clubs have now done away with joining fees, it is a fact that annual subscriptions can be prohibitively expensive if you happen to live in the wrong part of the country or if your local club has ideas about its station. Is £1,000 a year really good value?


It is a myth that waiting lists no longer exist. It is not as bad as it once was, but the better clubs will still tell you that you have to put your name down and wait your turn. Some people may find the prospect of watching paint dry a trifle more attractive than sitting at home waiting for the phone call or letter to tell you that your name is finally at the top of the list.


If you have forked out a huge sum on your annual subscription, you may well feel reluctant to go and play on other courses and have to pay green fees. So you end up playing the same course week after week, month after month, year after year. Variety is the spice of life.

Further reading....

How to Innovate Golf Club Memberships in 2018

Why Are Golfers Deciding to Be Non-Members

What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)

Tags: Memberships Golf Clubs

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